Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 171159
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File Number: 171159 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-526-17 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: IMPOSE SANCTIONS AGAINST OFFICIALS AGAINST VENEZUELA Introduced: 4/27/2017
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 5/2/2017
Agenda Date: 5/2/2017 Agenda Item Number: 11A5
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND APPLICABLE FEDERAL AGENCIES TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS AGAINST OFFICIALS OR PERSONS ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNMENTS OF OTHER COUNTRIES WHOM THE PRESIDENT DETERMINES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR, OR COMPLICIT IN, THE COMMISSION OF SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES, MONEY LAUNDERING, DRUG SMUGGLING AND OTHER ILLICIT ACTIVITIES
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 11A5 Adopted P

Office of the Chairperson 4/28/2017 Additions

County Attorney 4/27/2017 Assigned Shanika A. Graves 4/28/2017

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND APPLICABLE FEDERAL AGENCIES TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS AGAINST OFFICIALS OR PERSONS ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNMENTS OF OTHER COUNTRIES WHOM THE PRESIDENT DETERMINES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR, OR COMPLICIT IN, THE COMMISSION OF SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES, MONEY LAUNDERING, DRUG SMUGGLING AND OTHER ILLICIT ACTIVITIES

BODY

WHEREAS, Nicolás Maduro has been the President of Venezuela since April 2013; and
WHEREAS, there is no separation of powers or independent institutions in Venezuela; and
WHEREAS, President Maduro controls the Presidency, a majority of the municipalities, the Supreme Court, the military leadership, and the leadership of Petróleos de Venezuela, the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company; and
WHEREAS, since 2013, the price of oil, the popularity of Venezuela’s government, and its socioeconomic status have plummeted; social programs once financed by the government have largely disappeared, and inflation, crime, poverty and hunger have soared to record levels; and
WHEREAS, further, the country is also facing a health crisis due to shortages in necessary medications and medical supplies and increasing outbreaks of diseases; and
WHEREAS, Venezuela’s deep economic and health crises amplify the escalating calamity facing the nation; and
WHEREAS, moreover, allegations of human rights abuses, fraud, corruption, excessive force and other allegations of brutality against and by President Maduro, the Venezuelan government, police, and military officials are widespread; and
WHEREAS, in addition to admittedly engaging in political arrests, government, police and military officials have allegedly engaged in numerous atrocities, including unlawful killings, mass unwarranted detentions, torturing prisoners, arbitrary deportations, money laundering and drug smuggling; and
WHEREAS, investigations by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department of Justice and other federal agencies have implicated prominent Venezuelan government officials in drug trafficking and other illegal activities; and
WHEREAS, for instance, in 2017, the United States Treasury Department designated Venezuela’s Vice-President, Tareck El Aissami, a “Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker” due to his involvement in an international drug trafficking ring and, because of sanctions, froze all of his assets in the United States; and
WHEREAS, similarly, in 2016, the United States government indicted two high ranking Venezuelan officials for drug trafficking; and
WHEREAS, despite President Maduro’s use of authoritarian measures in response to dissenters, some of which have been acknowledged by the government and others alleged by protestors, widespread anger and unease fuel the civil unrest currently spreading across Venezuela; and
WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of protestors in at least a dozen cities have united and are standing in solidarity, demanding elections and accountability for the eroding democracy, sinking economy, and government corruption; and
WHEREAS, during the 113th United States Congress, Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) sponsored the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 (the “Act”), which was adopted by and signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2014; and
WHEREAS, the Act imposed targeted sanctions on persons, including current or former officials of the Venezuelan government and those acting on their behalf, who committed serious human rights abuses against or directed the arrest or prosecution of antigovernment protestors contrary to their exercise of freedom of expression or assembly in Venezuela; and
WHEREAS, according to Senator Menendez, the Act was a direct response to the systematic dismantling of democracy in Venezuela by President Maduro and his predecessor, which among other things, “removed checks on the executive, corrupted the judiciary and the rule of law, usurped the powers of the legislature, politicized the military, and suppressed freedom of the press;” and
WHEREAS, likewise, the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Extension Act of 2016, which extended the Act through December 31, 2019, was enacted during the 114th Congress; and
WHEREAS, this Board has previously adopted legislation condemning the actions of the Venezuelan government, its officials or individuals acting on behalf of such government or officials; and
WHEREAS, specifically: (1) Resolution No. R-253-14 supported the Act and condemned the Venezuelan government for using violence and intimidation against its political opposition, expressed support for Venezuelans who were fighting to restore democracy and urged the federal


government to take immediate diplomatic action; and (2) Resolution No. R-362-14 urged Congress to enact legislation that would direct the President to impose sanctions against certain government officials or other persons acting on behalf of those governments whom the President determines are responsible for, or complicit in, the commission of serious human rights abuses; and
WHEREAS, as part of the United States government’s diplomatic efforts to address the pressing and escalating economic and political turmoil in Venezuela, this Board believes that sanctions should be imposed upon Venezuelan officials as well any other persons acting on behalf of the Venezuelan government and governments of other countries that perpetrate human rights abuses,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges President Donald Trump, the United States Congress and applicable federal agencies to impose sanctions against officials or persons acting on behalf of the Venezuelan government and governments of other countries whom the President determines are responsible for, or complicit in, the commission of serious human rights abuses, money laundering, drug smuggling and other illicit activities.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s federal lobbyists to advocate for the actions 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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