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Senator Marco Rubio calls for targeted sanctions against Venezuela

On Thursday, May 8, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued for the need to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for the grotesque human rights violations occurring in the midst of Venezuela’s ongoing political crisis. During the Committee hearing, Rubio listed the names of 23 people he believes are candidates for these sanctions.

Rubio is an original sponsor of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which authorizes sanctions on people involved in serious human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“We are calling on identifying human rights violators in Venezuela, naming them by name, and sanctioning them for what they’ve done. And I just don’t understand how we can sit here and say that the time isn’t right to do that. I don’t understand how we can say we should wait for some point in the future, when the timing might be right to do that,” Rubio said. “Because by admission, what you’re saying is that, ‘If the Venezuela government does certain things over the next few months.’ That day may never come. And I just don’t understand how that can be our foreign policy.”

Rubio is an original sponsor of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which authorizes sanctions on people involved in serious human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela.

“The future of Venezuela belongs to the people of Venezuela. They must determine the direction of that country, and what sort of system of government and economics they want. But what we also want them to understand is that the United States will not stand by and idly watch as the rights of people, with whom we share this hemisphere, are systematically violated by an anti-American government – to top it all off – and ignore their plight,” Rubio added. “And we will endeavor to use, and I think in a bipartisan way I hope – and I know in this Committee that will be the case – in a bipartisan way, to use the influence and the power of the United States of America to firmly line up on the side of those who aspire to liberty, to freedom, and to respect of human rights.”

After the hearing, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) responded to Obama administration requests regarding the stance of the Venezuelan opposition.

“YObama Administration officials suggested that the time is not right for implementing sanctions on the individuals responsible for human rights abuses in Venezuela because of supposed concerns expressed by opposition leaders. Now that the main Venezuelan opposition group has made clear that is not the case and it, in fact, endorses individual sanctions like those in our legislation, this is a boost to our cause to hold the Maduro regime accountable by imposing sanctions."

In a time of increasing global turmoil, it is the duty of the United States to stand on the right side of history, and support the causes of liberty wherever they are threatened. Although the United States of America may not be a perfect country, these protests demonstrate the fact that we are still, and have always been, the greatest country on Earth.