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house Bill H.R. 920

Prohibiting Arms Sales to Venezuela’s Maduro Regime

Argument in favor

Historically, Venezuelan leaders — starting with Hugo Chavez and continuing with Nicolás Maduro — have relied heavily on the country’s military forces to stay in power. Cutting off arms sales to the Maduro regime’s security forces will weaken it, bolstering the odds of the opposition taking power.

IllWill's Opinion
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03/24/2019
We need to stop selling arms to entire world, not just Venezuela. Our arm sales are only further destabilizing the globe.
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Andrea's Opinion
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03/24/2019
I didn't support the Saudi government receiving American made weapons. I will NOT support arms going to Venezuela.
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KevinRosa's Opinion
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02/24/2019
The United States should not be selling arms to any country in the entire world.
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Argument opposed

America’s poor track record with intervention in Latin American affairs should give Congress pause when it considers intervening in Venezuela’s affairs. Rather than seeking to unilaterally push Maduro out, the U.S. should cooperate with other Latin American countries to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/24/2019
While I appreciate the intent of the bill and the opinions on here I don’t think the USA is in the position to be the moral leader of the world. If this bill was changed to read the USA could not sell military equipment to either side of a country during a civil war or coup attempt I’d support it. But we certainly don’t pretend to be Switzerland because there’s no money in that and we continue to sell arms to dictators all over the world who kill our own people. I mean really, have we quit selling to Saudi Arabia yet?
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Christopher 's Opinion
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03/24/2019
Maybe the U.S. should mind our own business & stay out of other countries affairs. Have we not learned from Vietnam, Korea, etc.
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Jon's Opinion
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03/25/2019
I’d be all for the US government staying the hell out of Venezuela’s business, period.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 920?

This bill, the Venezuelan Arms Restriction Act, would restrict the transfer of defense articles, defense services, and crime control articles to any element of the Venezuelan security forces under the authority of the Maduro regime. Tear gas and riot gear would be included in this bill. (Arms sales to Venezuela have been blocked since 2006, originally because of its lack of cooperation in counterterrorism efforts.)

Within 180 days of this bill’s enactment, the Dept. of State — and the Dept. of Commerce, if necessary — would be required to submit a report to Congress on foreign citizens involved in the transfer of the aforementioned items and services from the U.S. to the Maduro regime.

Impact

Arms companies; defense companies; Venezuela; Maduro regime; Dept. of State; Dept. of Commerce; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 920

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) introduced this bill to prohibit the export of defense articles and crime control materials from the U.S. to Venezuelan security forces:

"We cannot allow Nicolás Maduro to continue to steamroll democracy and act with impunity. The people of Venezuela have spoken and demanded that Maduro to step down, but their peaceful efforts have led Maduro’s security forces to resort to violence in the streets of Venezuela, as they often have since Maduro took power. Our bill will ensure that crowd control items, like riot gear and tear gas, will not be placed in the hands of Maduro’s cronies and security forces and used against peaceful protestors. I thank my Republican and Democratic colleagues for joining our effort to help bring peace and freedom to Venezuela.”

Rep. Shalala adds that the Trump administration’s crackdown on Maduro’s government has garnered bipartisan support:

"There are always going to be issues on which we agree. And for those of us that have large Venezuelan populations and who care about the future of Latin American democracy, this is an issue on which we can join together."

Original cosponsor Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) adds:

“Maduro and his cronies have built a despotic regime that rules using fear, corruption, oppression, and violence against an unarmed civilian population that seeks to restore democracy and peace to their country. The Venezuelan people have rejected Maduro’s illegitimate reign, and the United States must support their attempts to peacefully rebuild their nation. Russia and Cuba, who have consistently propped up Maduro and enabled his tyrannical abuses have blood on their hands by continually providing support to this autocrat. I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan proposal led by Congresswoman Donna Shalala, which will ensure that no U.S. made articles inadvertently end up in the hands of the Maduro regime to be used against the Venezuelan people.”

However, Rep. Shalala believes most Democrats don’t share Khanna’s and Omar’s views on Venezuela:

"That's their opinion. [They’re] two people. Name 100. I'll name 100 that are supportive of the efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela, who also believe its appropriate for us to protect the Venezuelan people from the security forces."

Some Democrats—most notably Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN)— have expressed concerns about the U.S. meddling in a foreign political dispute and imposing crippling sanctions that could harm a Venezuelan population already grappling with widespread food and medicine shortages. In a tweet on January 23, 2019, after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat, released a statement supporting President Trump’s recognition of Guaidó, Rep. Khanna wrote:

“With respect Senator Durbin, the US should not anoint the leader of the opposition in Venezuela during an internal, polarized conflict. Let us support Uruguay, Mexico, & the Vatican's efforts for a negotiated settlement & end sanctions that are making the hyperinflation worse.”

This bill has nine bipartisan cosponsors, including seven Democrats and two Republicans.

In the current session of Congress, other legislation on Venezuela has been introduced to increase humanitarian aid to the country and provide Venezuelans in the U.S. with immigration protections under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.


Of NoteVenezuela is currently undergoing an unprecedented economic, humanitarian, security, and refugee crisis consisting of extreme food and medicine shortages, severe infant and child malnutrition, rampant crime, and government-sponsored repression. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that inflation rates in the country could reach 10,000,000 percent in 2019.

The Trump administration is taking a strong stance against Maduro’s government by recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president; issuing broad sanctions against Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), the nation’s largest state-owned oil and natural gas company; and offering $20 million in humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan people. In a tweet on January 27, 2019, national security advisor John Bolton said:

"Any violence and intimidation against U.S. diplomatic personnel, Venezuela's democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response.”

In late January 2019, with the international community’s support, Guaidó became the interim president of the country pursuant to Venezuela’s constitution. However, Maduro continues to control aspects of Venezuela’s corrupt security forces, which are aided by implanted Curban foreign intelligence operatives.

However, Latin America is especially sensitive to the idea of U.S. intervention in its affairs, as the American military and intelligence community’s actions have shaped the region’s politics from the Mexican-American War in 1846 onwards. Additionally, Brazil — the Southern Hemisphere’s largest country and one of the first nations to recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president — has taken intervention off the table by saying that it “does not participate in intervention” as part of its foreign policy.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / emarys)

AKA

Venezuela Arms Restriction Act

Official Title

To restrict the transfer of defense articles, defense services, and crime control articles to any element of the security forces of Venezuela that is under the authority of a government of Venezuela that is not recognized as the legitimate government of Venezuela by the Government of the United States, and for other purposes.

    We need to stop selling arms to entire world, not just Venezuela. Our arm sales are only further destabilizing the globe.
    Like (37)
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    While I appreciate the intent of the bill and the opinions on here I don’t think the USA is in the position to be the moral leader of the world. If this bill was changed to read the USA could not sell military equipment to either side of a country during a civil war or coup attempt I’d support it. But we certainly don’t pretend to be Switzerland because there’s no money in that and we continue to sell arms to dictators all over the world who kill our own people. I mean really, have we quit selling to Saudi Arabia yet?
    Like (27)
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    Share
    I didn't support the Saudi government receiving American made weapons. I will NOT support arms going to Venezuela.
    Like (14)
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    👍🏻 House Bill H.R. 920 AKA the “Venezuelan Arms Restriction Act” 👍🏻 I’m in extremely strong support omg and recommend the passage of the House Bill H.R. 920 AKA the ‘Venezuelan Arms Restriction Act”, which would restrict the transfer of defense articles, defense services, and crime control articles to any element of the Venezuelan security forces under the authority of the Maduro regime. Tear gas and riot gear would be included in this bill. (Arms sales to Venezuela have been blocked since 2006, originally because of its lack of cooperation in counterterrorism efforts.) Historically, Venezuelan leaders — starting with Hugo Chavez and continuing with Nicolás Maduro — have relied heavily on the country’s military forces to stay in power. Cutting off arms sales to the Maduro regime’s security forces will weaken it, bolstering the odds of the opposition taking power. SneakyPete.......... 👍🏻H.R-920👍🏻. 3*24*19..........
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    No arms sales to Madurao regime.
    Like (8)
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    The United States should not be selling arms to any country in the entire world.
    Like (7)
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    Maybe the U.S. should mind our own business & stay out of other countries affairs. Have we not learned from Vietnam, Korea, etc.
    Like (6)
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    We shouldn't sell arms to any dictator
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    I’d be all for the US government staying the hell out of Venezuela’s business, period.
    Like (5)
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    We have a terrible record when it comes to arming other countries and their regimes. Let's sit this one out.
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    Please put the murdering leftist Maduro regime out of its misery.
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    Is this really a fricking question?!?!?!?! Come on. Oh crap! I forgot. For oil we will sell anyone anything.
    Like (4)
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    While the Maduro regime will have no trouble replacing the US as their arms supplier, I believe it is important for us to lock the doors to the “armory” and say, “You’re not gonna get ‘em here.” Nice to have an issue that the Democrats can agree with us on.
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    We shouldn’t be selling arms to either faction until there is a clear resolution. We also shouldn’t be trying to push one side over, it isn’t our business. Therefore this bill in itself is flawed and biased.
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    America needs to take a hands off approach to south and Central America for a change. I’d be more inclined to support a bill that stopped arms sales to all sides when civil unrest or offensive military action occurs. Five to sell them items for strict defense. If the protagonist realizes they will not receive support during offensive battles then it might have them think twice also and try harder to resolve peacefully.
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    America’s poor track record with intervention in Latin American affairs should give Congress pause when it considers intervening in Venezuela’s affairs. Rather than seeking to unilaterally push Maduro out, the U.S. should cooperate with other Latin American countries to pursue a negotiated settlement.
    Like (3)
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    Get the f---k out of Venezuela. When did it become America's interest to take over other countries? We have problems of our own. When we're more interested in waging peace than waging war, then we should try to influence other countries.
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    Stop all arms sales. Why is our country a distributor of death? Why not give peace a chance?
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    Yes absolutely! The Venezuela Military is actually stopping trucks full of aid as the come up to the border there on all sides! Colombia especially! The Military especially was backing this horrible regime and that’s hard for me to understand as that was such a wealthy country before they chose Socialism! But the Military should have stepped in years ago and deposed those Socialists dictators! This proves that all their generals and officer corps in their armed forces were corrupt as they always surrounded both Maduro and the punk that started all this Hugo Chavez! I am very surprised that the U.S. along with our other close friends in South America have not sent military task forces there to this day! Reagan would have a long time ago! Now we face a real decimated former republic that was once very prosperous and as The Navy of the People’s Republic has a small base there as well! There must be U.S. forces on the ground there and soon as the country is spiraling down fast! Relieve their commanders and arrest them! Colombia which is a close ally of ours already has troops along there border ready to go in! Get it done!
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    As long as we stop selling to Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Israel and every other nation that uses the arms to kill the poor, the dispossessed, the persons who struggle for justice for the powerless. Bartenders can be held liable for selling booze that contributes to injury and death. Arms manufacturers get bonuses for doing the same thing.
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