In a letter Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged President Barack Obama to take action against human rights violators in Venezuela.
Rubio's suggestions included freezing assets and restricting visas of individuals including Venezuela Defense Minister Vladimiro Parino, who approved the use of lethal force to diminish public demonstrations. Among methods authorized by Parino were the use of firearms and chemical weapons.
“While I support the decision by the Department of State to deny U.S. visas to an additional but undetermined number of human rights violators in Venezuela, I am deeply concerned about the lack of progress in imposing the more powerful financial sanctions mandated by this law,” Rubio wrote in his letter to the president. “Given the rapid decline of economic and security conditions in Venezuela, I urge you to fully implement the provisions in the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014.”
According to the letter, Feb. 12 is recognized as an anniversary of public demonstrations against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Rubio reports that under the crackdown by President Maduro, 40 people have died and approximately 50 individuals have been tortured.