Coffman to Introduce Ban on Venezuelan Oil Imports
Embargo Would Remain in Place until Democracy is Restored
Aurora, CO— Today at the Colorado State Capitol, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) announced that he will introduce the ‘Protecting Against Tyranny and Responsible Imports Act (PATRIA) of 2017’ which would impose a ban on the importation of petroleum and refined petroleum products from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In light of the recent actions taken by the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to solidify his authoritarian regime, Coffman plans to introduce the ‘PATRIA Act’ on September 5th.
Earlier this year, the Venezuelan Supreme Court, who is led by Maduro loyalists, stripped the country’s National Assembly, their democratically elected legislative body, of its authority. Recently, Maduro ordered the formation of a ‘Constituent Assembly’ which has the authority to rewrite the country’s constitution, dismiss officials, and eliminate existing institutions. This will allow Maduro to consolidate his dictatorship, perpetuate the humanitarian crisis, and imprison democratically-elected officials in Venezuela.
Coffman’s legislation would require that President Maduro reinstate the freely and fairly elected National Assembly of 2015 before the oil ban is lifted. Restoring the National Assembly would provide Venezuela with a democratically-elected legislative body that their people have been protesting and dying for in recent months.
“Although I am pleased that President Trump authorized additional sanctions against Venezuela, I believe that we must take stronger action to get Maduro to reinstate the National Assembly”.
If enacted, the ‘PATRIA ACT’ will have an estimated $10 billion impact in lost income to the Venezuelan government and will deny the authoritarian Maduro government the ability to use these funds to pay the regime’s security forces who have been oppressing the growing opposition and prolonging an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
“Venezuela, once the richest country of Latin America, is now a poor country without a respect for the rule of law or human rights,” said Coffman. “No doubt, this could make economic conditions even tougher for the Venezuelan people but it will also deliver a devastating blow to Maduro’s ability to stay in power without restoring the democratically-elected National Assembly,” Coffman continued.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have recently floated the possibility of U.S. military intervention to stop Venezuela from sliding into an authoritarian Cuban-style dictatorship while not discussing a ban on imported oil that supports the Maduro government.
“The price of the blood that could be shed by our own military has a greater value to me than any increase in the price at the pump caused by a ban on the sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran.
On June 17, 2017, Congressman Coffman authored a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that called on the State Department to impose more severe sanctions on “individuals and corporations within Venezuela that actively contribute to the ongoing crisis in that country...” Coffman continued, “I believe that, without a robust and wide ranging sanctions regime, the Maduro government will never consider democratic reforms…or stop its heinous pattern of human rights abuse.”
A preliminary CBO score reflects this legislation would result in a revenue loss of about $8 million dollars per year to the United States.
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