US Senate panel approves Venezuela sanctions

May 20, 2014
11 Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday greenlighted new sanctions on Venezuelan officials responsible for violent crackdowns against anti-government student protesters that have left 42 people dead.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 13-2 in favor of the sanctions draft, which now goes to the Senate floor and is on track for possible passage by Congress.

The bill would allow President Barack Obama to freeze assets and ban U.S. visits by any current or former Venezuelan government official responsible for “directing significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against persons associated with the anti-government protests in Venezuela.”

It also allows the White House to crack down on those who ordered the arrest or prosecution of demonstrators, or who are deemed as having provided assistance including financial support for such acts.

The bill would commit $15 million to help nongovernmental organizations, including pro-democracy groups as well was independent media in Venezuela.

The protests began in February as an outpouring of anger against the inability of President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist administration to tamp down the high crime rate, but quickly spread and included protests against the lack of household basics like milk and toilet paper in this oil-rich nation.

Committee chairman Senator Robert Menendez, who with Senator Marco Rubio has led the push on sanctions, said Tuesday’s vote sends “a very clear message.”

Recommended: Venzuelan opposition fears US sanctions would backfire

It tells those responsible, including government and military officials, security forces and civilian support groups, “will face consequences if they continue violating the human rights of these Venezuelan students who are peacefully protesting for the betterment of their nation and their families,” Menendez said.

The move comes a week after a House panel advanced similar legislation. Should the bills pass their respective chambers they would need to be reconciled into one bill before being sent to Obama for his signature.

The State Department meanwhile has lobbied against sanctions for now, instead placing hope in a dialogue initiated in April between Venezuela’s government and the opposition.

The protests began in February amid rapidly deteriorating socio-economic conditions including the shortage of commodities, soaring inflation and high crime.

The opposition has called for an independent commission to investigate the events that have left 42 dead, 800 wounded and 252 people detained.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Buchón cantina: Spritz cocktails to dine for
Dining and Nightlife
374 views
Dining and Nightlife
374 views

Buchón cantina: Spritz cocktails to dine for

Natalia Díaz - October 18, 2018

Buchón was the first place I tasted the Aperol Spritz, months before it became fashionable around San José. In fact,…

Tico Times Shade: What does ‘middle class’ mean in Costa Rica?
Tico Times Shade
1138 views
Tico Times Shade
1138 views

Tico Times Shade: What does ‘middle class’ mean in Costa Rica?

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 18, 2018

It’s not often The Tico Times writes an explainer about basic Costa Rican daily living that’s equally surprising to a…

Costa Rica grants asylum to Nicaraguan activist Alvaro Leiva
News
557 views
News
557 views

Costa Rica grants asylum to Nicaraguan activist Alvaro Leiva

AFP - October 18, 2018

Costa Rica granted the Nicaraguan human rights activist Alvaro Leiva political asylum last week. Leiva is the secretary of the…