Skip to content

Risch, Rubio, Hagerty, Scott, Barrasso Introduce Venezuelan Democracy Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), ranking member of the Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues Subcommittee, Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today reintroduced the Venezuelan Democracy Act, legislation to condition U.S. sanctions on Venezuela based on specific democratic progress.

“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 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.”

“After continuous concessions from the Biden Administration to the criminal Maduro narco-regime, which has committed possible crimes against humanity, we must reaffirm our commitment to free, democratic, and fair presidential elections in Venezuela. At a time when Venezuela is in the hands of a murderous thug and irregular colectivos involved in transnational crimes, a democratic transition of power must be prioritized,” said Rubio.

“In addition to systemically and egregiously abusing the human rights of the Venezuelan people, the illegitimate Maduro regime supports and profits from the international trafficking of illegal narcotics, has provided safe harbor to U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations like ELN, and has closely cooperated with Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime, Communist China, and Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime,” said Hagerty. “I’m pleased to co-sponsor this important legislation to hold accountable the Maduro regime for its threats to the national security interests of the United States and our partners in the Western Hemisphere.”

“In his desperate effort to hold power, Nicolas Maduro is committing a genocide against the people of Venezuela. The sanctions against this illegitimate regime cannot be lifted until his tyranny has ended and democracy returns. Today, I’m proud to join colleagues to make it clear that the United States will not sit on the sidelines during this critical fight. It’s time for President Biden to stop his failed appeasement and punish the ruthless regime for its crimes,” said Scott.

“President Biden’s weakness on Venezuela continues to embolden the oppressive Maduro regime and adversarial dictators around the world,” said Barrasso. “The United States must continue pushing for a transition from dictatorship to democracy through free and fair elections. Our legislation ensures that any removal of sanctions is conditioned on real progress on democracy, human rights and freedoms for the people of Venezuela.”

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.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.