Center for Security Policy Applauds Passage of Venezuela Sanctions – Victory for Human Rights and National Security

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December 15, 2014
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Ben Lerner | (202) 835-9077
(Washington, DC): The Menges Hemispheric Security Project (MHSP) of the Center for Security Policy applauds the passage of Venezuela sanctions legislation by both the House and the Senate. This legislation, which President Obama has indicated he will sign, is of great importance to the freedom loving citizens of Venezuela who demonstrated on behalf of their human rights only to have been brutally beaten back by their government.
We commend Senators Marco Rubio, Robert Menendez and Bill Nelson as well as Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for their leadership in introducing this legislation.
This legislation, the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, will sanction those individuals inside the Venezuelan government responsible for these abusive tactics. The legislation targets Venezuelan authorities who directed “significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against persons associated with the anti-government protests in Venezuela.” It also targets officials who directed or ordered arrests or prosecutions of people engaged in the “legitimate exercise of freedom of expression or assembly as well as those who materially assisted or provided significant financial, material or technological support for the commission of such acts.”
The MHSP of the Center for Security Policy has been a strong advocate for passage of this legislation. As soon as protests began early in February in Venezuela, the MHSP urged Congress to pass immediate sanctions. It was followed by a number of articles, statements and media appearances in support of unilateral sanctions claiming that the sanctions are needed not just to protect Venezuelans from human right abuses, but also as a first step to raise awareness in the United States that Venezuela is not only a human rights challenge but also a national security challenge.  This is especially so given that the Venezuelan government has developed strong relations with terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and  Hezbollah; with rogue states such as Iran; and with drug cartels and other dangerous elements.
Last May the MHSP (CSP) organized a conference in Miami that gathered pro-democracy activists in Florida. More than 100 leaders and activists attended and all of them advocated for sanctions. Click here for a report on those proceedings. The CSP also met and spoke with staff from Senators that objected the passage of sanctions.
Frank Gaffney, President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, commented:
“The passage of this legislation is a victory both for the people of Venezuela and the national security of the United States.  In the coming months, we look forward to convening another gathering of pro-democracy activists that recognize the importance of Venezuela to the Western Hemisphere and national security, with the goal of building upon this victory to affect the change the people of Venezuela desperately need, and from which the American people will benefit.  It is critical that we build on the results from this first effort back in May of 2014 (available here:) in the hope that the new Congress will further pursue inducements for change in Venezuela.”
Center for Security Policy

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