Bryan Ávila measure urges Joe Biden admin to reverse ‘misguided’ sanctions relief on Venezuela
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/8/23-Sen. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, talks about Senate Bill 10C his bill on scrutinized companies doing business with Iran, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. The Senate took up and passed the House version of the bill and it now moves to the governor for approval. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

‘The easing of sanctions by the Biden administration will only allow the regime to tighten its brutal grip on power and continue to terrorize the people of Venezuela.’

Lifting sanctions on the dictatorial regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has been a failure, and President Joe Biden’s administration needs to reverse the policy, a measure by Sen. Bryan Ávila says.

The memorial (SM 398), filed this month for the upcoming Legislative Session, would urge U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to reinstate economic sanctions on Venezuela.

It would also recommend additional sanctions on companies that do business with the country while it remains under Maduro’s control.

“The regime has destroyed countless lives, ruined a once-thriving economy, and ruthlessly censored any opposition to Maduro’s tyranny,” Ávila told Florida Politics. “The easing of sanctions by the Biden administration will only allow the regime to tighten its brutal grip on power and continue to terrorize the people of Venezuela.”

Venezuela has been under socialist control and faced U.S. sanctions for decades. That includes ones imposed in 2008 after then-President Hugo Chávez began seizing oil assets of companies including ExxonMobil.

The U.S. tightened trade restrictions with the South American nation further under former President Donald Trump, whose administration imposed numerous actions on Maduro’s regime, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, and its gold company, Minerven, among others.

The Biden administration has taken a different tack. In exchange for the Maduro regime’s agreement to allow free elections in 2024, the U.S. has eased sanctions on companies that trade in oil produced in Venezuela or invest in the country’s oil industry.

That “misguided” change in policy will “lessen the impact of longstanding sanctions aimed at promoting freedom and democracy in Venezuela,” Ávila’s measure says, while doing little to “help lower the prices (of oil) that have remained stubbornly high amid turmoil in Europe and the Middle East.”

Ávila’s memorial points to Oct. 18, when the U.S. lifted sanctions on the export of crude oil and refined petroleum for six months and issued a general license to Minerven in response to Venezuela’s “electoral roadmap.” That reform plan included allowing oppositional leaders to compete in elections, letting international observers monitor the election and freeing all political prisoners.

But on Oct. 30, the Maduro-aligned Venezuelan Supreme Court suspended the entire Primary Election process of Maduro’s opposition and ordered organizers to turn over documents identifying millions of voters after the election garnered more support than expected.

Many elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, called for an immediate reimposition of sanctions.

White House Latin America adviser Juan Gonzalez said last week that Maduro’s regime has until Nov. 30 to allow all opponents, including oppositional leader María Corina Machado, to compete in next year’s Presidential Election. If that demand is not met, he said, the sanctions will return.

The Biden administration took “a fairly big step to send the signal of our commitment,” Gonzalez told Colombian TV station NTN24. “But after Nov. 30 if those expectations are not met, we will have to take steps to dismantle sanctions relief.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • My Take

    November 15, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    For elections, Venezuela sounds a bit like what Trump would like here, under his control.
    And the US owes that nation and the shade of Hugo Chavez a deep apology for all our criticism òf Chavez’s public behavior. Compared now to Trump, Chavez was a distinguished model statesman, with the demeanor of an ambassador.

    • Anonymous

      November 15, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      Not a great take. Speaking as a Venezuelan Immigrant, Chavez lined his own pockets with billions of dollars (His daughter inherited multimillion dollar Swiss bank accounts, all documented and verified) he expropriated industries and destroyed PDVSA (the state owned oil producer/refiner) on which the government relied on for social projects. He also removed term limits and amended the constitution to allow him to install loyalists in throughout the government. If that doesn’t sound dictatorial to you then Im not sure what does. His successor, Maduro, is worse. He blatantly cheated the people out of the past two elections and has encouraged his cronies to control nearly every aspect of the private sector. He also sent his men to kidnap and kill many of the peaceful student protestors in 18′. Thus the reason why he’s being investigated by the ICC. Please refrain from commenting on situations you do not understand. Chavez was no model statesmen and his legacy is one of pain and suffering for the Venezuelan people. You should to move to caracas and experience it yourself!

    • A Venezuelans Take

      November 15, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      TERRIBLE TAKE: You are ill informed sir. He stole billions of dollars, destroyed the states cash cow (PDVSA) , eliminated term limits, amended the constitution and infected the nation with his loyalist regime. Trump is not the ideal candidate, but do not speak on a situation you are so far removed from. Keep your take to yourself and do some reading perhaps? And of course, check your sources ( since people have reached a level of laziness arguably more dangerous than that of any extremist political ideologies)

      • My Take

        November 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm

        Does this character think I put “a bit” in purely for decoration?
        –> “a bit” <–

    • My Take

      November 15, 2023 at 12:55 pm

      Chavez stands unequalled in the introduction to a UN speech.
      “He was right here. I can still smell the sulfur!”

  • My Take

    November 16, 2023 at 12:43 am

    Apparently the “public” in “public behavior” was missed too. Not his total behavior, not his political behavior: how he behaved in public.
    If I had said “table manners” would they ignote “table” and be braying, “Why he insults women in the office, and he will loose a giant fart in the elevator without so much as a ‘By your leave’.”

Comments are closed.


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