EspañolUS Republican Senator Marco Rubio aims to reignite efforts to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials who commit human-rights abuses.
Speaking in Colombia on Wednesday, Rubio said he was not “satisfied” with the Obama administration’s decision in July to impose a travel ban on more than 20 Venezuelan officials who took part in the crackdown on anti-government protesters earlier this year.
“We must punish them. We can not allow high officials in Venezuela, or people with close connections to the government, to steal money in Venezuela and invest it in Florida — enjoying the stolen money,” said Rubio, speaking in Spanish, during a press conference. “I hope we can achieve something much stronger than what the White House has done so far.”
The senator believes that the newly elected Congress will have a “sufficient number of Democrats and Republicans” to vote in favor of his legislation calling for sanctions.
The sanctions would target “assets belonging to officials responsible for human-rights abuses against the Venezuelan people,” including “National Guard senior officers and government officials who were involved in the shootings and abuses against students in Venezuela, as well as those who are corrupt,” Rubio detailed.
“Almost every senior official is stealing money from the country. Furthermore, Venezuela has repeatedly positioned itself as a US opponent in every international forum, and they are allied with the world’s worst criminal and terrorists elements.”
Rubio said the sanctions bill would have already been approved if not for the objections of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who blocked the vote citing concerns over hundreds of jobs at a refinery owned by Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil company. Landrieu will face a December runoff after failing to secure a majority in Tuesday’s election.