WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) joined U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), and John Barrasso (R-WY) as a cosponsor of the Venezuelan Democracy Act. The bill would make U.S. sanctions on Venezuela conditional on specific democratic progress.
“Dictators do not get to pick who their opponents are. The people do,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Venezuelan people deserve free and fair elections and an opportunity to oust a regime that has oppressed them for decades. We stand with María Corina Machado.”
“Despite the Maduro regime’s egregious human rights abuses and oppressive policies, the Biden Administration’s actions towards Venezuela have only served to embolden the regime,” said Senator Risch. “As I’ve said for years, any change in U.S. policy toward Venezuela must be contingent on a transfer of power from the Maduro regime to a democratically elected government. This legislation will ensure any removal of U.S. sanctions on the Maduro regime must be preceded by a standards-based transition to democratic order.”
The Venezuelan Democracy Act:
- Vigorously opposes violations of internationally recognized human rights in Venezuela and maintains current sanctions on Venezuela until there is a transition to democracy.
- Requires the United States to block membership of any non-democratic government of Venezuela at the Organization of American States, Inter-American Development Bank and International Monetary Fund.
- Reaffirms that U.S. humanitarian aid to Venezuela shall not be restricted, except if there is a risk such aid could be used to torture or in activities related to illicit narcotics and mining.
- Blocks U.S. foreign assistance to any country providing assistance, including financial assistance (except humanitarian aid), to the Maduro regime or any non-democratic successor.
- Requests an assessment on whether the Maduro regime fits the criteria to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization or a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
- Establishes U.S. policy toward a transition government and a democratic government in Venezuela, including support for self-determination, the provision of technical assistance, the inclusion of Venezuela in international organizations, and beneficial trade relations.
- Requests an assessment on whether the Maduro regime fits the criteria to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization or a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
- Requires quarterly reports on specific licenses granted to individuals engaging with sanctioned persons, as well as a report on foreign persons doing business with sanctioned persons in Venezuela.