Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Reauthorization Act of 2023 in hopes of ensuring that the current sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his regime remain in place.
The sanctions are set to expire on Dec. 21.
In October, the Biden administration had struck a tripartite deal with President Maduro and the opposition Unitary party platform to lift some economic sanctions.
As reported by The Floridian, the deal includes the US granting a six-month general license temporarily authorizing Venezuelan energy sector transactions in exchange for fair elections.
However, Sens. Rubio and Cruz – joined by his colleagues in the upper chamber – Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN), believe that Maduro has not held up his end of the bargain. Therefore, they believe the sanction should resume.
Sen. Rubio stated, “Human rights sanctions remain a crucial tool to help Venezuelans who continue to suffer under Maduro’s criminal regime. We have a moral duty to ensure that this narco-regime is held accountable for its countless crimes and that sanctions remain in place.
Sen. Scott mentioned that the reauthorization of sanctions demonstrates that the U.S. is fighting for “a truly democratic” Venezuela.
“Time after time we’ve seen President Joe Biden appease murderous dictators like Maduro by lifting sanctions, allowing millions of dollars to fuel his dangerous regime and further destabilize the region,” said Sen. Scott. “The people of Venezuela made their choice by backing María Corina Machado as the legitimate opposition leader, and now the United States must use every opportunity it has to put the full support behind the voice for freedom, using every sanction within the power of our nation to hold Maduro accountable.”
Scott concluded, “I’m proud to join Senator Rubio in this bill to reauthorize sanctions that impose human rights sanctions on the Maduro regime and ensures the U.S. only supports those who are fighting for a truly democratic and free Venezuela.”
Sen. Cruz added that appeasement has only resulted in “more violent aggression” by the Maduro regime.
“Appeasement of the Maduro regime has only resulted in more violent aggression and repression by the regime. Now is exactly the wrong time to weaken American sanctions meant to hold the regime accountable,” said Sen. Cruz.
The bill would reauthorize the Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014.