CARACAS, Thursday March 13, 2014 | Update

US Senators submit bill to impose sanctions on Maduro's government

The bill for the Defense of Venezuela's Human Rights and Civil Society calls for individualized sanctions. The motion must be approved first by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and then submitted to the plenary session

Thursday March 13, 2014  06:21 PM
Democrat Senators Robert Menéndez and Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio on Thursday lodged a bill for the United States to impose direct sanctions on the Government of Venezuela, in the aftermath of the violent events hitting the South American country for a month now.

A reported by Efe, the text goes beyond the proposal filed a few days ago by Menéndez and Rubio. Such proposal –which condemned violence and urged US President Barack Obama to impose sanctions on Venezuela- was approved on Wednesday by the plenary session of the Senate.

The motion filed on Thursday makes a direct call on President Obama to freeze the assets of those involved in the crackdown on protests in the streets of Caracas, and to revoke visas to a list of individuals proposed by Senators and shared with the White House.

It also provides for USD 15-million aid for the defense of human rights in Venezuela, the protection of independent media and the strengthening of civil society in defense of democratic values.

"The instability in Venezuela illustrates clearly that the abatement of democracy leads to political chaos and economic instability. This legislation makes it clear that the violence of the regime of (Venezuelan President Nicolás) Maduro requires a strong and prompt response," said Menéndez, the president of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

He insisted that, "given the rampant impunity in Venezuela," the United States will not stand idly by "human rights violations in Caracas and across the country."

"This legislation serves as a strong warning to the members of the government, the Venezuelan security forces and armed civilian groups involved in violence that the United States will not tolerate this type of behavior and respond accordingly to help strengthen civil society Venezuela, while specific sanctions are imposed on the individuals responsible," he said.

The Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 must be approved first by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and then submitted to the plenary session.

Congress will be in recess next week, and therefore the act will not be discussed until later this month.