Some of Florida’s Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress are applauding new U.S. economic sanctions against the government of Venezuela, geared towards remove President Nicolas Maduro. The embattled president remains in power despite the intense opposition from the United States and more than 50 other countries.
The sanctions freeze the property and assets of the Venezuelan government in the United States, among other measures, according to an executive order issued Monday by the Trump administration.
“Yesterday’s executive order is yet another step to exert maximum pressure on the Maduro regime by restricting its access to the global financial system,” said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
“America was the first country to recognize interim President Juan Guaido and we reiterate our unwavering support to the democratically elected National Assembly. Any country or individual doing business with the Maduro crime family will face sanctions as they are perpetuating the agony of the Venezuela people.”
The Venezuelan foreign ministry said the move to freeze all of the country’s assets in the U.S. was an effort to “formalize a criminal, economic, financial, and commercial blockade that has already started,” Reuters reported.
“I’ve been calling for the administration to use every option available – including an embargo – to end Maduro’s brutal regime, and I applaud the President and national security adviser John Bolton for taking action,” said Florida U.S. Republican Sen. Rick Scott. “Now the countries that continue to prop up Maduro, including Cuba, Russia and China, will face economic consequences for their support.”
South Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also applauded the news about the latest economic sanctions, but pivoted towards ripping into the president and the Republican Senate for continuing to refuse to give Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans currently in America.
The TPS program is designed to help individuals affected by “ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, an epidemic or other extraordinary and temporary conditions,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Democrats have been pushing for TPS for Venezuelans for several years now, and Republicans such as Rubio and Miami U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart have joined the effort as well. But Senate Republicans and President Trump continue to resist that call.
“I’m tired of Republicans treating Venezuelans like human political opportunities instead of respected members of our communities and country,” Wasserman Schultz added. “We can be tough on the Maduro regime while also giving Venezuelans in the U.S. who have fled hunger and repression certainty about their legal status. It is disingenuous to advance economic sanctions without providing protections for the Venezuelans who have fled here because of the conditions necessitating those sanctions.”