Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio urge sanctions against Venezuela

Scott sends letter to Obama; Rubio says president could impose sanctions now

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

DORAL, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are calling for sanctions against Venezuela, where opponents of President Nicolas Maduro are staging countrywide protests.

Both politicians spoke at a Friday news conference in Doral that drew hundreds of Venezuelans.

Scott has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to consider sanctions, as well as revoking the U.S. visas of anyone involved in attacks on the protesters.

"All of us need to invited President Obama when he comes to Florida -- he's coming to Florida next month -- he needs to come right here and listen to your stories," Scott told the crowd.

Rubio has introduced a resolution calling for visa bans and asset freezes against human rights violators.

"Freeze the assets and revoke the travel visas of these government officials of Venezuela who are participating in these crimes," Rubio said.

Rubio said Obama has the authority to impose sanctions now.

"He has that constitutional authority to do it," Rubio said.

The protests in Venezuela began as student-led demonstrations but have grown to include the opposition. The government has reported 16 deaths.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has called on Venezuela to respect human rights and release opposition members who have been incarcerated.

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