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Rubio-Menendez Venezuela Sanctions Bill Passes House, Heads To President’s Desk To Be Signed Into Law

Jul 6, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a three year extension of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which was sponsored by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). The legislation, which will now be signed into law by the president, authorizes sanctions against government officials and others in Venezuela who violate human rights, suppress political opposition, and commit violence against peaceful protestors.

In April, the Senate passed this bill after Rubio spearheaded successful negotiations involving several issues and multiple senators.

“I am proud that Congress has once again stood with the Venezuelan people by extending these sanctions, and now the Obama Administration must do its part by fully implementing this law against the many human rights violators in the Maduro regime,” said Rubio. “As the despicable Maduro regime continues to violate the rights of its own people, it is our duty as a country to continue to do everything we can to address the catastrophe that has become Venezuela. By extending these sanctions, we are reinforcing our commitment to those innocent people in our hemisphere who are subject to the abuses of the Maduro regime.  I call on President Obama to fully implement these sanctions and use all the tools at his disposal, including financial sanctions as well as visa bans, to hold those responsible for human rights violations in Venezuela accountable for their actions.”

“For far too long, the international community has neglected the growing conditions that could bring Venezuela – a failed state in the waiting – again to the brink of widespread civil unrest,” said Menendez. “I believe that it’s only American leadership that will spark the meaningful international reaction that could reverse the profound violations of human rights and systemic abuses of authority that characterize Maduro’s grip on power.  With the extension of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, we have taken one small step.  I urge our partners and allies in the Hemisphere and around the world to adopt similar measures to pressure the Maduro regime and to stand strong together in support of Venezuela’s civil society.”

In 2014, President Obama signed the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act into law, which Senators Rubio and Menendez sponsored in the 113th Congress.  The law supports the people of Venezuela in their aspirations to live under conditions of peace and representative democracy as defined by the Inter-American Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States. It also mandates the imposition of sanctions against foreign individuals, including current or former officials of the Venezuelan regime and those acting on their behalf, who committed significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against peaceful protestors and other innocent civilians or directed the arrest or prosecution of a person contrary to their legitimate exercise of freedom of expression or assembly.

Since this bill was signed into law, the Maduro government has continued its attempts to intimidate political opposition and suppress peaceful protestors. Maduro is now using Venezuela’s Supreme Court to invalidate laws passed by the National Assembly. The extension of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 will combat these abuses of human rights and the rule of law by extending mandatory Venezuela sanctions for three years to December 31, 2019.