On Monday, Scott hosted a Venezuelan Freedom rally in Miami, at a popular Venezuelan restaurant. He was appreciative of the release of political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez over the weekend, but was dismayed that he still remains under house arrest.
Leopoldo Lopez co-founded one of the leading Venezuelan opposition political parties Primero Justicia. Leopoldo is the great-great-great-grandson of Venezuela's first president, Cristóbal Mendoza and the great-great-grand nephew of Simón Bolívar (a heroic figure to many Venezuelans). He was mayor of Chacao (One of five political subdivisions of the capital Caracas) from 2000-2008 and in 2008 by a ruling from Venezuela's chief prosecutor Leopoldo and hundreds of other candidates were barred from running in the election.
“Over the weekend, we were glad to see Leopoldo Lopez released from his illegal imprisonment. While this is great news, it is not enough and Leopoldo remains on house arrest. Florida stands with the Venezuelan people in demanding total freedom for Leopoldo and all political prisoners and the immediate end of the oppressive and brutal Maduro dictatorship to make way for free and fair elections and true democracy. The Venezuelan people deserve free and fair elections – not the masquerade that is being planned by Maduro’s dictatorship at the end of the month.
“Just days ago, Maduro showed his true colors once again when his henchmen violently disrupted a meeting of the Venezuelan National Assembly. This unacceptable oppression and political violence will not be tolerated and is exactly why I am proposing that the State of Florida be prohibited from doing business with any organization that supports this dictatorship. Florida will continue to be a voice for freedom and democracy in Venezuela and rally behind those fighting to end Maduro’s brutal reign.”
On Venezuelan Independence Day last week, Governor Scott announced a proposal in the works that would prohibit the State of Florida from doing business with any organization that supports the Maduro regime. More details of the Governor’s proposal will be made available prior to the August 16, 2017 Cabinet Meeting.
In May, Goldman Sachs who manages a $478 million of the state’s “Long Duration Portfolio” purchased
$2.8 billion in bonds for Venezuela's state-run oil company. The State Board of Administration which maintains the state’s retirement pensions holds over $130 million in Goldman Sachs stock as of March 31, 2017.
The governor’s position echoes that of several South Florida politicians including State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami who announced last week that he would introduce legislation that would force the state to sever ties with any companies doing business with the Maduro regime.
Bans on the state investing in businesses involved with Iran, Sudan and Cuba already exist.
Rocco Maglio contributed to this report.