The United States Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio presented a bill on Thursday that would allow the use of funds confiscated from Maduro’s corrupt collaborators in favor of the Venezuelan people, a proposal insistently promoted since 2019 by the Venezuelan Ambassador, Carlos Vecchio.
The Preservation of Responsibility for National Assets Act of 2021 (PANA Law) would allow the taking of assets seized from individuals related to the regimes of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro who are convicted of corruption and would place them in a “Venezuela Restoration Fund” that would be used by the State Department to rebuild Venezuelan democracy and civil society.
Ambassador Vecchio thanked the U.S. Senators for their permanent commitment to the cause of the Freedom of Venezuela.
“We have insisted since 2019 that all the funds that are seized from the corrupt collaborators of Maduro’s dictatorship, from individuals such as Raúl Gorrín, Alejandro Andrade, Alex Saab and on and on, must be constituted in a fund that is administered by the United States Government in coordination with the Interim Government of President Juan Guaidó, to address the humanitarian drama of Venezuelans, the COVID19 pandemic and be available for the next reconstruction of the country. We thank Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for echoing this initiative with the PANA bill.”
He added his aspiration that this Law can have bipartisan supporrt, as has been the TRUTH Law of 2019, which lays the foundations to establish said fund with assets seized in the U.S. from corrupt officials and human rights violators.
Introducing the PANA Law, Senator Cruz said: “Corrupt individuals related to the Chávez and Maduro regimes stole hundreds of billions of dollars from the people of Venezuela, leaving the country impoverished. The people of Venezuela deserve to get that money back. This bill will hold bad actors accountable and provide much-needed support to those working to restore freedom in Venezuela.”
Senator Rubio added: “I am proud to join this effort that would use the assets recovered from the despotic regimes of Maduro and Chávez. Venezuela has a long road to recovery and these funds can help the Interim Government and the democratically elected National Assembly as they work towards the common goal of rebuilding Venezuela’s democracy and a prosperous future.”
The United States has identified corrupt Venezuelan government officials who were complicit in the theft of hundreds of billions of dollars of theft. In response, the Justice Department has gradually recovered assets by prosecuting these individuals. By April 2020, Florida federal authorities had seized $ 450 million in assets in Venezuelan corruption cases, including cash, property and even horses. In 2020, there were an estimated $ 1.5 billion in assets within the U.S. jurisdiction. As of February 2021, there were 38 pending cases involving 164 people.
The PANA Law would use the funds seized in those cases to strengthen governance and democratic institutions, defend internationally recognized human rights for the people of Venezuela, support the efforts of independent media, combat corruption, and improve transparency and the accountability of the institutions that have been part of the Chávez or Maduro regimes.