Senator Bill Nelson called on the U.S. Dept. of Treasury to sanction all 545 members of Venezuela’s recently-created constituent assembly and ban the import of Venezuelan crude oil into the United States, until constitutional order has been restored.
“In July you stated that ‘anyone elected to the constituent assembly should know that their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela could expose them to potential U.S. sanctions,’” Nelson wrote in a letter to Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin. “Only a handful of members of this illegal body, however, have been sanctioned; I strongly urge you to sanction all its members as soon as possible.”
This is the letter:
The Honorable Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Dear Secretary Mnuchin:
I write regarding the dire political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and to again urge the Administration to impose tough economic sanctions on the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
After a sham election, Maduro pushed ahead—despite the overwhelming opposition of the Venezuelan people—to form an illegal constituent assembly, re-write Venezuela’s constitution, and make himself dictator. Last month, pro-Maduro candidates won governorships across Venezuela in elections marred by widespread irregularities and fraud. Still, Venezuelans suffer and starve at Maduro’s hands.
I support the Treasury Department’s efforts thus far, but more must be done. In July you stated that “anyone elected to the constituent assembly should know that their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela could expose them to potential U.S. sanctions.” Only a handful of members of this illegal body, however, have been sanctioned; I strongly urge you to sanction all its members as soon as possible.
Additionally, I urge the Department to continue targeting Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), and consider banning the import of Venezuelan crude to the United States until constitutional order has been restored in Venezuela. PDVSA should be a source of wealth for the Venezuelan people, but because of the corruption of the socialist government and years of mismanagement, it has become a source of cash for Maduro and his cronies to line their pockets. I encourage you to seek the support of our European allies in imposing both targeted and sectoral sanctions on the Venezuelan regime, too.
Finally, I encourage the Administration to support bipartisan legislation filed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to strengthen the authority to sanction those responsible for undermining Venezuela’s democracy and provide badly-needed humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people. It is critical that we stand together on their side as they fight to restore their democracy.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this crisis.