Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 171158
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File Number: 171158 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-527-17 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: CONGRESS HOUSE RESO. 259 CONCERN CRISIS IN VENEZUELA Introduced: 4/27/2017
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 5/2/2017
Agenda Date: 5/2/2017 Agenda Item Number: 11A6
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION SUPPORTING HOUSE RESOLUTION 259, A FEDERAL RESOLUTION BEFORE THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, OR SIMILAR LEGISLATION THAT EXPRESSES CONCERN AND CONDEMNATION OVER THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN VENEZUELA
Indexes: SUPPORTING
  URGING
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
  Bruno A. Barreiro, Co-Sponsor
  Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., Co-Sponsor
  Daniella Levine Cava, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 5/2/2017 11A6 Adopted P

Office of the Chairperson 5/1/2017 Additions

County Attorney 4/27/2017 Assigned Sabrina Levin 4/28/2017

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING HOUSE RESOLUTION 259, A FEDERAL RESOLUTION BEFORE THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, OR SIMILAR LEGISLATION THAT EXPRESSES CONCERN AND CONDEMNATION OVER THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN VENEZUELA

BODY
WHEREAS, there is no separation of powers or independent institutions in Venezuela, and President Maduro controls the Presidency, a majority of the municipalities, the Supreme Court, the military leadership, and the leadership of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA); and
WHEREAS, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council postponed elections for governors and mayors scheduled for December 2016 and has not set a date to reschedule elections; and
WHEREAS, there have been several attempts at dialogue between President Maduro and the opposition over the past year, which have all failed to achieve results; and
WHEREAS, a political solution is the way to provide sustainable change for the Venezuelan people, but the dialogues up until now have helped provide Maduro a lifeline while his government is collapsing; and
WHEREAS, the Venezuelan government continues to silence its citizens through political arrests, with more than 100 political prisoners currently in jail, including opposition leader Leopoldo López; and
WHEREAS, Joshua Holt, a United States citizen, remains imprisoned in Venezuela awaiting a trial, with five postponed hearings to date; and
WHEREAS, police and military raids have led to widespread allegations of abuse, including extrajudicial killings, mass arbitrary detentions, torture in prisons, forced evictions, and arbitrary deportations; and
WHEREAS, Venezuela is immersed in a deep economic crisis, with the highest inflation in the world and current inflation estimated to top roughly 1,600 percent in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund; and
WHEREAS, in July 2016, President Maduro handed over control of the food supply system to the military, which has enabled corruption, fraud, and food trafficking by the military contributing to food shortages, a scarcity of basic goods, and political discrimination in the distribution of food and basic goods; and
WHEREAS, deteriorating conditions in health care persist, with the World Health Organization estimating that there are shortages for 75 percent of necessary medications and medical supplies, up from 55 percent in 2014 and 67 percent in 2015; and
WHEREAS, the country is facing increasing outbreaks of malaria and diphtheria, previously eradicated diseases in Venezuela; and
WHEREAS, the country has experienced an increase in emigration, according to multiple press reports, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post; and
WHEREAS, Venezuela is the leading country for asylum requests to the United States in the world, according to data reported by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and
WHEREAS, the government of Venezuela has expanded its powers to regulate media and reduce the number of dissenting media outlets, including CNN en Español after CNN broadcasted a report alleging that Vice President Tareck El Aissami was directly linked to passport fraud involving members of Hezbollah; and
WHEREAS, on February 13, 2017, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking and imposed sanctions on Mr. El Aissami and froze his assets in the United States; and
WHEREAS, on March 14, 2017, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, issued a second report on the crisis in Venezuela following his May 2016 report, documenting an altercation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter by the Government of Venezuela and calling for free, fair, and open elections and the release of political prisoners without delay; and
WHEREAS, on March 23, 2017, 14 OAS Member States published a joint statement calling for the government of Venezuela to hold elections, restore the constitutional powers of the National Assembly, and release political prisoners; and
WHEREAS, on March 28, 2017, the OAS Permanent Council agreed by a vote of 20 in favor, 11 against, two abstentions, and one absent/nonvoting Member States to move forward in discussing the situation in Venezuela; and
WHEREAS, on March 28, 2017, the Supreme Court of Venezuela stripped opposition leaders of the National Assembly of their parliamentary immunity and began to take steps to consider prosecuting them for treason; and
WHEREAS, on March 29, 2017, the Venezuelan Supreme Court seized power from the democratically elected National Assembly and nullified the legislative branch’s ability to function; and
WHEREAS, on March 31, 2017, in the first major break of a sitting Venezuelan public official, Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz affirmed the Supreme Court’s actions “had broken constitutional order”; and
WHEREAS, on March 31, 2017, Venezuelan citizens took to the streets protesting the Supreme Court’s breach of power; and
WHEREAS, on April 1, 2017, during an emergency meeting of the Mercosur countries, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay released a statement urging the Government of Venezuela to follow its constitution and guarantee “the effective separation of powers”; and
WHEREAS, on April 1, 2017, the Supreme Court reversed its earlier decisions taking over the National Assembly’s legislative powers and stripping the legislators of their parliamentary immunity; and
WHEREAS, House Resolution 259 was filed on April 6, 2017 by United States Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) for consideration during the 115th Congress; and
WHEREAS, House Resolution 259 condemns the decisions by the Venezuelan Supreme Court on March 28 and 29, 2017, stripping the opposition legislators of their parliamentary immunity and seizing power from the National Assembly, nullifying all legislative actions; and
WHEREAS, House Resolution 259 recognizes the decision by the Venezuelan Supreme Court on April 1, 2017 to restore the opposition legislators’ parliamentary immunity and the National Assembly’s legislative powers; and


WHEREAS, House Resolution 259 urges the government of Venezuela to heed the calls of the international community to hold free, fair, and open elections, release all political prisoners, including U.S. citizens, and immediately accept international humanitarian assistance only through nongovernmental organizations; and
WHEREAS, House Resolution 259 urges OAS Member States to continue all efforts, including the consideration of a potential suspension of Venezuela from the OAS, if the government of Venezuela fails to hold free, fair, and open elections and release all political prisoners in a timely manner; and
WHEREAS, House Resolution 259 encourages the President of the United States to prioritize a resolution of the political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, including through bilateral, targeted sanctions against individuals in the government of Venezuela responsible for the deterioration of democratic institutions and the rule of law in the country,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Supports House Resolution 259, or similar legislation before the United States Congress that expresses concern and condemnation over the political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of this resolution to United States Representatives Ron DeSantis, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Michael Thomas McCaul Sr., Carlos Luis Curbelo, Theodore Scott Yoho, Randall Keith Weber, Gus Michael Bilirakis, Albio B. Sires, Christopher Henry Smith, and the remaining Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation.

Section 3. Directs the County’s federal lobbyists to advocate in support of the legislation as set forth in Section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to amend the 2017 Federal Legislative Package to include this item.



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