Sunday, March 2, 2014

US/Venezuela: Florida Senator Marco Ruibio, Governor Rick Scott Urge Federal Government to Institute Sanctions Against Venezuela

Accoding to Reuters, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) told a crowd of Venezuelans in Miami on Friday (February 28) that they are urging the federal government to institute sanctions against the South American country where nationwide protests against President Nicolás Maduro have turned deadly.

To date, 17 persons have been killed during the violence and 261 have been injured.

Senator Rubio has introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for visa bans and asset freezes against Venezuelan leaders involved in human rights violations against protesters. 

South Florida is home to the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the US. Many fled during the presidency of the late Hugo Chávez and are stridently against his successor, Maduro. They cheered and draped Scott and Rubio with the Venezuelan flag. 

COMMENT: The protests in Venezuela began as student-led demonstrations but have grown to include the mostly middle-class opposition, upset about economic problems and the heavy-handed government response to the demonstrations. 

The protests continued Friday with scattered barricades blocking streets in some Caracas neighborhoods on the second day of national holidays.

In addition to Rubio's resolution in the Senate, a resolution has also been introduced by Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami in the House denouncing the violence and calling for the international community to promote mediation, but stopping short of calling for the US to institute sanctions.

Five members of the Venezuelan national intelligence agency were arrested on murder charges Wednesday in connection with the shooting deaths of a 24-year-old university student and a government supporter during protests.