President Barack Obama signed sanctions Thursday against Venezuelans accused of human rights violations including some of the socialist supporters, who have been seen on Instagram flashing wealth while visiting Miami.
Congress passed the legislation last week after the House adopted them in May. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson supported the bill. Right-winged Venezuelans living in Miami traveled from Doral in west Miami-Dade to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the sanctions.
Raul Gorrin, Gustavo Perdomo and Juan Domingo Cordero are among the accused supporters of the leftist Bolivarian Revolution who are known as the "Boliburgueses" or "Boli-bourgeoisie." El Nuevo Herald reported earlier this year that Gorrin and Perdomo had $4 million homes in Cocoplum, owned Maserati Quatroporte and Ferrari sports cars and shopped at luxury stores like Gucci at the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables.
Venezuelans reportedly involved in human rights violations during protests against the Chavista regime earlier this year, were the primary target of the new law. The systemic violence during protests left about 43 dead and resulted in thousands of arrests including the Feb. 18 arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
The State Department's measures on Venezuelan officials impose the cancellation of visas and orders freezing the assets. The U.S. hasn't had official diplomatic relations with Venezuela since 2010. Venezuela withdrew from the American Convention on Human Rights in 2012.
On Monday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro addressed the sanctions after a march in Caracas. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's ally said in Spanish that "the insolent, imperialist 'yanquis' could stick their visas to the United States of North America up their you know where."
Maduro also said Monday that his administration was working on having a more advantageous relationship with the "the giant from the North." U.S. sanctions come a day after hedescribed the U.S. foreign policy change with Cuba, as a "historic victory" for the Cuban people.
Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly is one of the most influential members of Maduro's governing socialist party.
"We reject sanctions as arbitrary, as immoral," Cabello said.
A SIGN OF BAD TIMES
Raul Castro's willingness to communicate with the U.S. may come from a fear that the Venezuelan oil supply could end just like the Soviet Union's did when it collapsed. Venezuela no longer has the spare cash to cover more than half of the island's consumption and Castro is moving to diversify.
Italian's Saipem operates Scarabeo 9, one of the largest semi-submersible drilling oil rigs in the world being used in the waters of Cuba. Saipem built it in China for an international drilling contractor with offices in Brazil. Castro allowed the Scarabeo 9 to drill in the North Cuba Basin for Repson, of Spain. It also drilled in the north coast of Pinar del Rio for Petronas, of Malaysia and for Gazprom Neft, of Russia.
In exchange for medical personnel, Venezuela has been providing Cuba with about 100,000 barrels of oil a day under the shadow of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez's friendship. Chavez was elected in 1998 and died March 5, 2013.
Maduro's currency controls exacerbated economic problems. Chavez's successor hasn't been able to stop the low price of oil exports, contain the world's fastest inflation or improve his approval rating.
Oil exports account for an estimated 95 percent of Venezuela's foreign currency earnings. If oil prices don't recover, experts in Miami and New York City say, Venezuela could default on its foreign debt as early as 2015.
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