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Rick Scott to attend inauguration of Colombian President Ivan Duque

Gov. Rick Scott announced late Sunday that he would travel to Colombia for the inauguration of new President Ivan Duque in Bogota. While in South America, he plans to meet with exiled leaders from Venezuela.

Scott, who right now is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, stressed his longtime connections to South American leaders during his eight years as governor. That has included trade missions to Colombia, Panama, Brazil and Argentina, as well as seven trips to Puerto Rico since the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Scott’s press office in the release criticized Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s “brutal regime” and said he would talk with exiled leaders from that nation about what Florida can do to support freedom and democracy there.

“Governor Scott has also stood in direct opposition of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and his efforts to rob the people of Venezuela of their liberty,” reads a statement from the press office. “Working with the Florida Legislature, Governor Scott fought for and secured legislation to prohibit any state agency from doing business that benefits the Maduro Regime.”

In his bid for U.S. Senate, the Republican governor has made particular efforts regarding outreach with leaders from South American nations. That includes winning the endorsement of Democrat William Diaz, an Orlando media personality and leader of the international Venezuelan exile network.

Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, has made his own efforts to reach out to South American leaders and met with Duque himself in July.

Scott, a close ally to U.S. President Donald Trump, also stressed that he spoke with the president a few days ago to discuss what America could do to help the people of Nicaragua, another South American nation dealing with disruption.

A number of Florida politicians have turned their efforts toward Nicaragua following deadly protests of President Daniel Ortega.

And regarding Cuba policy, Scott said he encouraged the Department of State to ensure Cuban military entities are denied any possible revenue from the United States.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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