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Chairman Menendez’s Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act Approved by Congress

Legislation Proceeds to President’s Desk, Set to Become Law

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and author of the bipartisan Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, issued this statement following the bill’s passage in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation was approved by the U.S. Senate on Monday and it dramatically builds upon existing travel bans by requiring further Administration actions targeting individuals in Venezuela who committed human rights abuses during the crackdown against opposition protests earlier this year.

“This is a day of forceful action, the moment when Congress is speaking in united opposition against the human rights violations committed in Venezuela by the Maduro government. The absence of justice and the denial of human rights in Venezuela must end, and the U.S. Congress is playing a powerful part in righting this wrong.  When this bill becomes law, a spotlight will shine on Venezuela’s abusers and target individuals responsible for human rights violations by applying asset-freezes and visa bans.

“The fight to deliver hope and opportunity to Venezuela is only beginning.  We must continue to call for the end of political persecution, including efforts to silence opposition leaders like Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado. Governments in our hemisphere and throughout the world must stand in solidarity with the citizens of Venezuela by denying Venezuelan officials involved in human rights violations entry into their countries and access to their financial systems.  The U.S. House of Representatives has taken swift action today by voting on this Senate bill and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen deserves high praise for her tenacious leadership on this issue.

“When President Obama signs this bill into law, it will mark a victory for the Venezuelan people and for their future.”