Governor Ron DeSantis today addressed the Venezuelan community at Florida International University in Miami. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Joins President Trump in Miami to Address the Crisis in Venezuela
Governor Ron DeSantis today issued a bold proclamation recognizing Interim President Juan Guaidó as the only legitimate leader of Venezuela and standing against Maduro’s oppressive regime. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Issues Proclamation in Support of Interim President Juan Guaidó of Venezuela
Intensifying her efforts to break the grip of Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro on the people of Venezuela, state Senator Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) has filed a Proclamation in support of First Consul Scarlet Salazer, Venezuelan Consulate in Miami, for her courage in recognizing Juan Guaidó as the legitimate Interim President of Venezuela. [Read more…] about Senator Taddeo Intensifies Efforts on Maduro Ouster
Governor Rick Scott today hosted a roundtable event with leaders from the Venezuelan community to discuss the actions the state has taken against the Maduro regime. Last year, Governor Scott and the State Board of Administration passed a resolution to ban state investments that would benefit Nicolas Maduro’s oppressive government. To build on these efforts, Governor Scott proposed legislation (SB 538 and HB 359) to strictly prohibit all state agencies from investing in any company that is doing business with the Maduro regime.
Governor Rick Scott today applauded the work of the Trump Administration on the announcement of new sanctions against ten Maduro government officials. Earlier this year, the SBA unanimously approved Governor Scott’s proposed resolution to prohibit the State of Florida from investments to benefit the Maduro regime. Currently, the Governor’s proposal to further this state policy has been filed in the Florida Legislature.
Governor Scott said, “For far too long, Nicolas Maduro has put his desire to stay in power above the needs of his people. I am glad that the Trump Administration has taken further action to hold this dictator and his regime accountable. As Maduro continues to brutally oppress the people of Venezuela, I will continue to do everything I can to help bring freedom and democracy to the millions of Venezuelans suffering at the hands of this ruthless dictator.
“In Florida, we’ve been clear that we stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela who are struggling for their freedom. We have taken action to prohibit the state from making investments that benefit the Maduro regime, and we are working to make our recent action even stronger. We work relentlessly to shine a light on Maduro’s crimes against his people and the need for freedom and democracy in Venezuela. Today, we renew our call for Maduro to step down and completely release all political prisoners now.”
Governor Rick Scott today met with world leaders for the 2017 Latin American Summit and announced a major legislative proposal for the upcoming legislative session which will strictly prohibit the State of Florida, including all state agencies, from investing in any company that is doing business with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s oppressive government. Earlier this year, the SBA unanimously approved Governor Scott’s proposed resolution to prohibit the State of Florida from investments connected to the Maduro regime.
Governor Scott said, “In Florida, we have been absolutely clear – the brutal government of Nicolas Maduro must end and the people of Venezuela must be given total freedom and democracy now. Earlier this year, my resolution was passed by the State Board of Administration to make sure that Florida state investments do not support the Maduro regime. Now, we are building on this action. Today, I’m proud to announce that during the upcoming legislative session, I will propose additional measures to continue to advocate for human rights and democracy for the people of Venezuela. My new proposal holds the Maduro regime accountable by making the steps we took this year permanent in Florida law. It also extends this action to all state agencies, prohibiting Florida’s state government from investing in any company doing business with the regime. I also call on all local governments and businesses to do what I’m advocating for at the state level and not do business with those that support the Maduro Regime. Companies can choose to either support the Maduro Regime, or to seek investments from the State of Florida – not both.
“Let me be clear- this proposal is aimed squarely at the Maduro regime – not businesses who provide much needed goods and services to the Venezuelan people. Florida continues to stand with the people of Venezuela and steadfast against any government that oppresses its people and denies freedom and human rights.”
Details on Governor Scott’s proposed legislation will be available in the coming weeks.
Sen. Bill Nelson just finished speaking on the Senate floor about the situation in Venezuela. Below is a rush transcript and here’s a link to watch video of Nelson’s remarks:
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
Remarks on the Senate floor
July 31, 2017
Sen. Nelson: Madam President, we have chaos in Venezuela. It’s a protracted crisis in Venezuela which took yet another turn for the worse yesterday.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro pushed ahead with a vote despite so many people, including the opposition, to try to have him avoid and became a sham vote. Only about 10% of the population voted. The opposition stayed home. It was a vote — no wonder why people stayed home. It was a sham vote to form a constitutional assembly despite the vehement opposition of the Venezuelan people and the overwhelming international criticism.
Plain and simple: The vote was illegal and it was rigged. And once again on the streets and at the ballot box, the Venezuelan people have made themselves loud and clear.
Two weeks ago more than seven million Venezuelans voted against even holding this vote, and yesterday the numbers are millions stayed home. Maduro wants to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution so that he can cling to power.
And yesterday’s vote was only the latest attempt to undermine, if not to completely undo, Venezuela’s democracy. He continues to crack down on protesters. They’ve killed more than 100 and injuring and arresting thousands more. His thugs have raided homes, terrorizing the opposition’s families. He’s tried to strip the National Assembly of its powers, undercut the attorney general, and he has co-opted the courts. His thugs attacked the National Assembly, injuring opposition lawmakers. He blocked a lawful referendum to recall his election. His cronies steal the country’s money and enrich themselves.
All the while the Venezuelan people suffer. The people go hungry. Children are malnourished. There are no staple products, no medicines, no medical supplies for the people. Of course you know who gets the food and the medical treatment. It’s the privileged few, the Maduro ones that he protects.
Now this is Venezuela’s tragic reality. Maduro has made himself dictator and he and his cronies are bent on turning Venezuela’s once-vibrant democracy and once-vibrant economy into a Cuban-style regime.
Nevertheless, the Venezuelan people in the face of violence, oppression and deprivation, they continue to fight for their democracy, for the little bit of freedoms that they have left. They’re doing everything they can at great risk to themselves and their families to save their democracy and, thus, to save their country.
Well, the task just got a lot harder. So the issue before us, Mr. President, is: what can we do to support them since Maduro has now installed himself with this fake referendum on a national assembly? What can we do to support Maduro from being the dictator that he is. And so what we need to do is condemn the constitutional assembly as the sham that it is. It also means the United States increasing the pressure on the Maduro regime.
I’ve just spoken this afternoon with the Treasury Department, and the United States has announced a little earlier this afternoon, has frozen Maduro’s assets. I expect at least two other countries to follow suit, and probably more after they do. This is an important step, and I hope it’s the first in what, I hope, will be the strongest possible economic sanctions to stop Maduro.
It’s time that we consider cutting the imports of Venezuelan oil also.
Now what have we done thus far? Well, there were already a group of Maduro’s cronies, some in the private sector, some in the government, that the sanctions have been slapped on.
You say, well, what does that do? What good does that do? Listen, all of these cronies of Maduro, they love to come to Miami. They love to have offshore bank accounts and all kinds of assets stashed overseas. And if not in the U.S., perhaps in some of those other countries that are going to follow suit.
So we do that with his cronies. Now, what we have done today by the announcement from the Treasury Department is that we have frozen Nicolás Maduro’s assets. And if other countries follow suit, they’re going to freeze his assets as well.
Maybe we should take the next step. The next step is Venezuela exports a lot of its oil to the United States. It’s such a heavy, dirty crude, a good part of that has to go to the refineries in the U.S. because those refineries are the ones that are capable of refining that heavy, dirty crude. Maybe we just ought to stop our imports of the Venezuelan oil, absorb that percentage of loss of oil coming into the U.S. from Venezuela, clearly on the world marketplace, which oil is fungible. Maybe that’s what we ought to do.
We are now dealing with a Cuban-style dictator that’s the head of Venezuela. I think going forward, the United States must insist on the release of all political prisoners, that Venezuela has got to go back to when it was a thriving democracy, the rule of law. That was back when they respected human rights and the people had some freedoms.
And we ought, as the United States, to help rally the nations of the Organization of American states and to rally the support of the world to bring about a meaningful end to this crisis because it’s just going to get worse and worse.
The violence that you’ve seen on the TV yesterday and today, it’s going to continue as you continue to squeeze the people to starve them, to take away all semblance of human decency, what do you think they’re going to do? They’re going to revolt. And the violence isn’t going to stop.
Now, Mr. President, there is a role for Congress and there is an opportunity for the Congress to lead. The president’s budget eliminated funding for democracy programs in Venezuela that support the old National Assembly and civil society and those same democracy programs that promote human rights and the encouraging of an independent media.
Recently, I wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with a number of other senators, urging that the committee continued that funding for those democracy programs in Venezuela. In May, this senator joined Senators Cardin and Rubio and seven others in introducing the Venezuelan Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democracy of Democratic Governance Act. That bill addresses the many aspects of the crisis in Venezuela. It codified targeted sanctions on regime officials, something that we are now implementing, and thank goodness for the announcement by this administration. I give them kudos for that. That act would authorize badly needed humanitarian assistance. It would back the OAS efforts to bring about an end to the crisis and it funds election-observation organizations and groups working to defend democracy in Venezuela.
These are bipartisan efforts and I would urge our colleagues to support them. And I would urge that we bring them up as soon as possible. The situation is terrible in the country and the situation and that chaos, especially what we’ve seen in Caracas, is going to get worse. Time is of the essence.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
Next week, following the election of a newly-formed National Constituent Assembly, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro may extend his brutal reach with the ability to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution, making it even more important for Florida leaders to stand up and speak out against his oppressive actions.
In response to Governor Rick Scott’s proposal to the Trustees of the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA) that will prohibit the State of Florida from doing business with any organization that supports the Maduro regime, SBA trustee and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued the following statement:
“The Maduro regime is known for inflicting gross human rights abuses against the people of Venezuela, and under no circumstances should Florida’s investment funds be tied to such tyranny.
‘I have confirmed that the Florida Treasury conducts no business with Venezuelan companies that have ties to Maduro’s regime, and I commit my vote as a trustee to reviewing all measures to remove every last investment penny from companies that provide support, in violation of federal law, to the Maduro regime. As we review the Governor’s proposal, I look forward to an open discussion during the upcoming August Cabinet meeting.”
Governor Rick Scott today applauded the opportunity for Venezuelans to make their opposition against the Maduro Regime known through a straw poll this weekend. The straw poll is being hosted for Venezuelan citizens across the globe in response to efforts by the Maduro regime to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution to further support his own brutal dictatorship.
Governor Scott said, “This Sunday, the Venezuelan people have an opportunity to make their voices heard and send a powerful message of unity against Maduro and his gang of thugs. The State of Florida is fully committed to proudly standing side-by-side with the people of Venezuela who are bravely fighting for freedom and democracy. Maduro’s consistent rejection of democratic principles in favor of oppression and violence cannot be tolerated. That is why, in August, I will propose that the State of Florida be prohibited from doing business with any organization that supports the Maduro dictatorship. Floridians will continue to rally together with the Venezuelan people to support their right to freedom.”
U.S. Must Take Stand Against Cuba and Venezuela
By, Governor Rick Scott
In recent months, we have seen Venezuela slip into complete chaos. Under the brutal and oppressive dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, we have seen things go from bad to worse. Food and medicine shortages, violence on the streets and economic uncertainty.
We’ve also seen companies like General Motors, Bridgestone and General Mills scale back their operations in Venezuela. Recently, United Airlines also joined in this effort by announcing it will suspend flights to Venezuela next month.
It’s no wonder that these companies are pulling out of a country engulfed in violent political protests and economic chaos.
Venezuelans endure long lines to purchase basic necessities all while Maduro’s dictatorship blames companies for the country’s shortages. The Maduro regime continues to mismanage the country’s oil resources, has produced a swollen inflation rate and dismal exchange rate, leaving the Venezuelan people to deal with hardship and corruption.
This is not acceptable and we should not stand for these injustices to the Venezuelan people. The United States must stop doing business with Venezuela immediately.
The turmoil in Venezuela is eerily similar to events that have plagued the island nation of Cuba for decades. When President Obama moved to normalize relations with the Castro dictatorship many argued that the new relationship would be the beginning of a better life for the Cuban people. Yet two and half years later, repression is growing and the brutal crackdown of the peaceful opposition movement is most alarming.
This was the wrong move. A message must be sent to both the Maduro and Castro regimes and their gangs of thugs that the United States will not tolerate their continued aggressions.
Organizations like the Ladies in White and UNPACU are the constant targets of the Castro regime’s violent rage. The anticipated “emerging private sector” (cuentapropistas) has actually decreased and tens of thousands of Cubans have attempted to flee the enslaved island in numbers not seen since 1994. In Venezuela, the Castro dictatorship continues to pull the strings, aiding the Maduro government’s bloodbath against the heroic Venezuelan people.
Moreover, the Obama-Castro deal failed to prioritize America’s interests. It purposely did not contemplate the certified claims of American citizens whose properties were stolen by Castro’s regime; it allowed Cuba’s trafficking of 240 tons of missile technology and other heavy weaponry with North Korea, and those responsible for it, to get away without consequence; it allowed companies to put American workers at a competitive disadvantage through deals with Cuba’s state-owned entities, which employ forced and exploitative labor practices that are contrary to international norms; it ignored judicial claims of American victims of terrorism by Castro’s regime and the cries for justice from American families whose killers are being harbored by Castro’s regime. To add insult to injury, President Obama even commuted the life sentence of a Cuban spy that was convicted of conspiracy in the murder of three American citizens.
The approach for the new United States-Cuba policy should be a substantive shift. The current direction has proven to provide the Cuban military and state security the resources that will enable them to transfer power from one family member to another. The new course must be focused on doing our part so that the Cuban people may regain their right to self-determination.
Today, I am encouraging President Trump to take a stand against these brutal dictatorships. President Trump and his Administration have the opportunity to set a new course. One that recognizes that the Cuban and Venezuelan people deserve to be free, and prioritizes human rights, democracy, security and the rule of law. This new course should serve as a beacon of hope for those brave activists in Cuba and Venezuela by making it clear that, if you are a Castro or Maduro government official involved in the violation of human rights, you will be prohibited from obtaining any immigrant or non-immigrant visa to the United States. I’m convinced that this new direction will better serve U.S. interests, generate genuine economic prosperity and help the Cuban and Venezuelan people achieve their long-awaited freedom.