The letter comes amidst Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s latest actions to prevent a free and fair presidential election later this year.
President Biden had spearheaded an effort to convince Maduro’s regime to permit for democratic elections to occur in Venezuela.
As part of Biden’s initiative, the US was leveraging sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports to pressure Maduro into permitting elections.
Maduro eventually signed the ‘Barbados Agreement’ with Venezuelan opposition representatives where he pledged to permit democratic elections if oil sanctions were lifted.
However, the Maduro-controlled Venezuelan Supreme Court’s decision on January 26 to indefinitely disqualify opposition leader Machado effectively nullifies Maduro’s commitments.
Senator Rubio and Scott’s letter demands Biden speedily reapply the sanctions levied on Venezuela prior to the signing of the Barbados Agreement.
“To maintain the United States’ credibility, and hold the regime accountable for its decision to subvert democratic elections, we urge you to immediately reimpose sanctions in place before the declaration of the Barbados agreement,” reads the letter.
The Senators continued, warning that “the time to act is now. Failure to do so will expose us all to grave consequences in the future.”
The White House has yet to signal if they will impose all of the sanctions that have been lifted.
While speaking at a press conference, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller suggested Biden may be considering giving Maduro’s regime a chance to rectify its actions.
“There is still time for them to allow a free and fair election. We are hopeful that that’s what they’ll do, but if they don’t, we are prepared to implement our sanctions,” said Miller.
“We should have never negotiated with Maduro,” said Representative Salazar (R-FL) in response to Maduro’s latest affront to his political opponents.
Similarly, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recalled comments he made earlier in January, where he alleged Maduro would not live up to his promises.
“Let there be no doubt: Maduro had no intention of upholding the Oct 17th agreement & the result of the elections. The U.S. should reverse all sanctions relief,” said Senator Rubio.