WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reintroduced the Preserving Accountability for National Assets Act (PANA Act). The bill would take assets seized from individuals connected to the Chavez and Maduro regimes who are convicted of corruption and place them in a “Venezuela Restoration Fund” to be used by the State Department for building up Venezuelan democracy and civil society. This legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
Upon reintroduction of the PANA Act, Sen. Cruz said, “Corruption is rampant among the leading individuals connected to the Chavez and Maduro regimes in Venezuela. Venezuelans have seen billions of dollars stolen from them, leaving their country impoverished. . This bill will hold bad actors accountable and provide much-needed support to those Venezuelans who are working to restore freedom in their country.”
Sen. Rubio said, “Assets recovered from the criminal Maduro and Chavez regimes should be used to help the people of Venezuela who have paid the price of their misgovernment and incompetence. Rebuilding Venezuela’s democracy, the rule of law, and a prosperous future requires strengthening the nation’s democratic governance and its institutions.”
Senator Hagerty said, “The illegitimate, leftist, anti-American Maduro regime has left a trail of devastation in its wake—billions stolen, democracy dismantled, and the world’s largest refugee crisis. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in this effort to ensure that frozen funds are directed to support a democratic restoration and economic revival in Venezuela.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “Maduro and his thugs are ruthless and corrupt. Any money or assets seized relating to their corrupt activities deserve to be returned to the people of Venezuela. I am grateful for Senators Cruz and Rubio for their support of this important issue to restore Democracy and civil society to the people of Venezuela that they so desperately deserve.”
Sen. Young said, “The regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro have stolen the futures of the Venezuelan people for decades through graft and kleptocracy. It is past time to ensure that the fruits of their illicit labors go towards helping the victims of their oppression. Our bill would help hold these corrupt governments accountable and push for a restoration of freedom and democracy in Venezuela.”
The U.S. has identified, prosecuted, and convicted corrupt individuals that have profited from the Venezuelan regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. The PANA Act would use the funds seized from these individuals to strengthen democratic governance and institutions, defend internationally recognized human rights for the people of Venezuela, support the efforts of independent media outlets, combat corruption, and improve the transparency and accountability of institutions that have been part of the Chavez or Maduro regimes.
Read the bill here.