Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala (D) took to Twitter to slam the Trump administration as new reports have surfaced claiming that funds seized from Venezuela’s dictatorship were used to fund President Trump’s wall.
Commenting on the matter, the freshman Florida lawmaker, currently involved in a closely-watched reelection campaign, expressed that “the Trump administration may have used $600 million in assets seized from Maduro & his thugs to pay for his border wall.” She added that “this stolen money belongs to the Venezuelan people!” before concluding that “it should be used to restore democracy – not further a xenophobic agenda.”
The Trump administration may have used $600 million in assets seized from Maduro & his thugs to pay for his border wall. This stolen money belongs to the Venezuelan people!
It should be used to restore democracy – not further a xenophobic agenda.https://t.co/ROgl6tDNK9
— Rep. Donna E. Shalala (@RepShalala) June 18, 2020
At the end of last year, Congress passed the bipartisan VERDAD Act, which calls on President Trump’s administration to return the assets to the “future democratic government in Venezuela.”
United States officials have confirmed that the government holds at least $450 million in assets linked to Venezuela with much of the assets being seized in South Florida. Aside from that, federal agents also seized an estimated dozen multimillion-dollar condos and homes, which extend from downtown Miami’s Brickell Avenue area to the Cocoplum neighborhood in Coral Gables.
Senator Bob Menendez (D), who sponsored the VERDAD Act, is currently getting ready to question the Trump administration on whether or not any of the assets that were seized were used to fund the border wall.
In an email sent to Andres Oppenheimer, the writer of the op-ed that Rep. Shalala shared on Twitter, Menendez asserted that “instead of using these funds to support Venezuelan people desperately in need of humanitarian aid or the future reconstruction of Venezuela, I am dismayed to learn the Trump administration may be wasting them on President Trump’s shameful border wall.”
Florida Rep. Shalala has been critical of the Venezuela government and its human rights violations, but she also seeks answers from the Trump administration that may or may not be given.
Almost on queue, the Florida Democratic Party held a Zoom conference call where the Venezuelan-American Democratic panelists on the call took the opportunity to call the president “racist” and someone that “does not care about the Venezuelan community.”