Salazar and Schultz Reintroduce Bipartisan Venezuela ‘VERDAD’ Act

Salazar and Schultz Reintroduce Bipartisan Venezuela ‘VERDAD’ Act

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
December 15, 2023

Congresswomen Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fl) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) have jointly reintroduced the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development (VERDAD) Act.

The VERDAD Act, passed in 2019 and set to expire in 2023, imposes sanctions against Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime and outlines US strategy towards supporting a democratic transition in Venezuela. 

Congresswoman Salazar claimed Maduro’s regime’s latest actions to prevent opposition party leader Maria Corina Machado from participating in Venezuela’s 2024 presidential elections merit extending the VERDAD Act. 

Maduro is a tyrant who needs to go,” said Salazar via press release. Salazar continued, claiming her bill reauthorizing the VERDAD Act “will show the Venezuelan people that America is still on their side in the fight against socialism.”

The VERDAD Act’s sanction package targets individuals involved in human rights abuses and undemocratic practices while providing exceptions for those who decide to take formal steps to renounce the Maduro regime. 

Sanctions would include foreign asset blocks, visa restrictions, and additional penalties. 

Venezuela is set to hold Presidential elections in 2024 and, while many doubt the Maduro regime will permit free and fair elections, Venezuelan opposition candidates have been relentlessly campaigning. 

Earlier in the year, Machado overwhelmingly won the Venezuelan opposition party’s primary elections. However, Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s puppet Venezuelan Supreme Court invalidated the election results and barred Machado shortly afterwards.

Since then, conservative and liberal lawmakers have been urging President Joe Biden to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela after lifting them in exchange for Maduro’s promise of free and fair elections in Venezuela.  

Maduro was given until November 30th to reinstate Machado, a deadline he failed to meet and has since unilaterally extended until today, December 15th. 

To make matters worse, Maduro appointed Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab just recently ordered for the capture of Machado’s and other opposition leaders’ staff.

However, despite bipartisan support for sanction reimposition, President Biden’s administration seems to be hesitant to reimpose sanctions as of today. 

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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