Florida Gov. Scott Calls for Venezuela Sanctions

Image: Florida Gov. Scott Calls for Venezuela Sanctions Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media in front of the El Arepzo 2 restaurant in Doral, Florida.

Friday, 28 Feb 2014 02:30 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott has repeated his calls for the Obama administration to consider sanctions against the Venezuelan government, sending the president a letter outlining his position.

On Friday, the Republican governor said he first brought the sanctions up on Monday during the National Governors Association meeting in Washington D.C., The Miami Herald reported.

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"We must target regime officials with sanctions, such as freezing the bank accounts of [President Nicolas] Maduro and his gang and revoking the U.S. visas of anyone involved in attacking peaceful demonstrators. We must stand squarely for liberty and democracy and against the forces of oppression and tyranny," Scott wrote in his letter to President Barack Obama. "It is also my hope that you will use all diplomatic measures to denounce the unjust arrest and treatment of the peaceful pro-democracy leader Leopoldo López."

Scott added that the president should visit with Venezuelan families in Miami on March 7, when he is scheduled to visit Florida.

On Wednesday, Obama urged Venezuela to release protesters detained in anti-government demonstrations that turned violent and address the "legitimate grievances" of its people.

Scott will visit Doral later on Friday along with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to express solidarity with Venezuelan students and others who have been protesting Maduro, who has ordered military intervention against the demonstrations.

“With ongoing reports of violence and repression of free speech, this issue demands your immediate attention," Scott said in his letter.

The U.S. government expelled three Venezuelan diplomats Tuesday in retaliation for a similar move from Maduro, who kicked American consulate officials out, The Hill reported.

More than a dozen people have been killed during the Venezuelan government's crackdown, and another 100 people have been injured.

On Friday, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere cleared a bipartisan resolution to condemn the violence, while calling on the United States to back the protesters. The resolution was introduced by Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and 15 other lawmakers.

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