Bennet, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Comprehensive Legislation to Help Restore Democracy In Venezuela

VERDAD Act Significantly Expands U.S. Humanitarian Assistance, Strengthens Tools to Combat Kleptocracy and Human Rights Abuses, Advances Reconstruction Planning, and Establishes U.S. Policy in Support of Diplomatic Solution to Venezuela’s Crisis

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet this week joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing new, comprehensive legislation to help restore democracy and address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

“Venezuela is facing political, economic, and humanitarian crises caused by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro,” Bennet said. “The United States must stand with our regional partners and allies in addressing humanitarian needs in the region and holding the corrupt Maduro regime accountable. This legislation is a strong bipartisan demonstration of U.S. commitment to the people of Venezuela as they seek to restore the rule of law and democracy in their country.”

The most comprehensive effort to date to confront the crisis in Venezuela, the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development (VERDAD) Act drastically increases humanitarian assistance, expands current tools to address kleptocracy, formally recognizes and supports the Interim President of Venezuela’s efforts to restore democracy and prosperity in the country, and accelerates planning with international financial institutions to advance the country’s post-Maduro reconstruction.

Key elements of the VERDAD Act include:

Support for Venezuela’s Interim President and Recognition of the Venezuelan National Assembly

  • Establishes U.S. policy to pursue a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

Increased Humanitarian Relief for Venezuela

  • Authorizes $400 million of new humanitarian assistance.

Addressing Maduro Regime’s Kleptocracy

  • Prohibits granting and mandates revocation of visas for the family members of sanctioned individuals and establishes a waiver with conditions to lift visa restrictions.
  • Removes sanctions on designated individuals not involved in human rights abuse if they recognize Venezuela’s Interim President.
  • Requires the State Department to work with Latin American and European governments to implement their own sanctions.

Supporting the Reconstruction of Venezuela

  • Requires the Departments of State, Treasury and Justice to lead international efforts to freeze, recover, and repurpose the corrupt financial holdings of Venezuelan officials.
  • Accelerates planning with international financial institutions on the economic reconstruction of Venezuela, contingent upon the restoration of democratic governance.

A summary of the VERDAD Act is available HERE. The bill text is available HERE.