Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants the Sunshine State to stop doing business with Venezuela. Scott is proposing the policy shift after more than 100 days of protest and unrest in the South American country.
In a news release Thursday, Scott said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to rewrite the country’s constitution and his allied supreme court's move to dissolve its parliament represents an acceleration to full dictatorship.
Scott is calling for a prohibition on state investments — with employee pension funds, for example —that support the Maduro regime.
“The atrocities happening at the hands of the brutal and oppressive Maduro regime are unspeakable. I have heard firsthand from Floridians about the need for change in Venezuela,” Scott wrote. “Prohibiting the Florida State Board of Administration from making investments that support Nicolas Maduro is a big step in the right direction.”
On WJCT’s “First Coast Connect” last month, American-Venezuelan Association Jacksonville chapter Vice President William Mora said the country’s situation is deteriorating.
“Venezuela (for) more than 17 or 18 years has been developing a kind of dictatorship that has been difficult to get rid of,” he said.
After years of civil war and foreign intervention, leftist Venezuelan revolutionary Hugo Chavez was democratically elected in 1998. He won the favor of the country’s poor through radical social programs, but up until his death four years ago, Chavez slowly consolidated power and silenced dissent.
Maduro, who was elected by a razor-thin margin in 2013, was Chavez’s chosen successor.
Most Venezuelans around the world oppose rewriting the country’s constitution, according to an independent, non-binding referendum.
The Florida State Board of Administration must sign off on Scott’s proposal, which includes the following: