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A group of senators is promoting a bill that prohibits government agencies from awarding contracts to individuals or companies that do business with Venezuela’s tyrant, Nicolás Maduro, Republican Senator Marco Rubio announced on Monday.
The initiative, dubbed “Prohibiting Operations and Leases with the Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime” (Bolivar), was introduced by Republican Senators Rick Scott and Thom Tillis, as well as Democrat Jacky Rosen, Rubio, also a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
In 2017, the Treasury Department already imposed sanctions against Maduro by which it froze all assets he might have in the United States and also prohibited U.S. individuals and institutions from any transactions with the Venezuelan tyrant.
In addition, Washington offered in March 2020 a reward of 15 million dollars for his capture on charges of narco-terrorism.
Republican Congressman Michael Waltz submitted the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration on January 28, added the note, where another fifteen representatives of both parties support the initiative.
“We must ensure that U.S. federal agencies do not award government contracts to any company linked to the Maduro regime,” said Rubio, the ranking Republican on the subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues.
Scott, for his part, defended that “not one penny of U.S. taxpayers’ money can be used to support this regime.”
The prohibition would not be retroactive and “would only apply to contracts entered into during or after the enactment of the bill,” the release stated.
The rule would not affect any business with the former National Assembly, whose leader Juan Guaidó, is recognized by the White House as interim president of Venezuela.
In addition, the proposal contemplates “exceptions necessary to provide humanitarian aid and disaster assistance, and for the Office of Foreign Assets Control to issue a valid license to do business in Venezuela.”
And it grants the secretary of state the power to “terminate the restriction when it is in the national interest of the United States.”
In 2019, then-U.S. President Donald Trump, led a group of more than 50 countries that recognized the interim government that Guaidó proclaimed in late January 2019.
Trump, whose term ended last January 20, led from the White House a heavy-handed strategy towards the Caracas Administration, which translated into sanctions against companies or officials, close associates and relatives of members of Maduro’s tyranny.
On February 3, the Administration of Democratic President Joe Biden announced that it does not expect to establish direct contact with Maduro in the “short term,” and indicated that it continues to recognize Guaidó as its interlocutor.