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H.R. 2658 (115th): Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 25, 2017.

Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act of 2017

This bill directs the Department of State to work through nongovernmental organizations to provide public health commodities, basic food commodities, and related technical assistance to Venezuela.

The State Department shall submit a multi-year strategy to Congress that: (1) describes how the United States will secure international support for the provision of humanitarian assistance to Venezuela, and (2) identifies governments that will provide financial and technical assistance.

The President shall use U.S. influence to place the humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela on the United Nations Security Council agenda and to secure a statement urging the Venezuelan government to allow the delivery of humanitarian relief. If the government of Venezuela refuses to allow such delivery, the President shall use U.S. influence to secure a U.N. Security Council resolution: (1) directing the government of Venezuela to allow access for humanitarian agencies; and (2) calling on such government to allow the delivery of food and medicine, end human rights violations, agree to free elections, cease violence, and release all political prisoners.

The State Department shall work: (1) with the Organization of American States to ensure international observation that contributes to free and transparent electoral processes in Venezuela, and (2) to defend internationally recognized human rights for the people of Venezuela, support the efforts of independent media outlets to share information beyond the limited channels made available by the Venezuelan government, facilitate open access to the Internet, and combat government corruption.

The State Department shall report to Congress regarding: (1) the involvement in corruption of senior Venezuelan officials, including members of the National Electoral Council, the judicial system, and government security forces; and (2) Russian cooperation with the government and armed forces of Venezuela.

The bill amends the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 to: (1) direct the President to impose sanctions on any current or former official of the Venezuela government who is determined to have perpetrated significant acts of public corruption or actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions, and (2) extend the requirement to impose sanctions under such Act until December 31, 2022.