Local Venezuelan group supports governor's stance on Maduro regime

The governor wants a law to bar state businesses from doing businesses with pro-Venezuela firms.

Gov. Rick Scott is taking a stand against what he calls a brutal regime.

The governor wants to pass a law prohibiting Florida from doing business with any organization that supports the Venezuelan government.

“We really appreciate what the governor is doing because he's taking the side of justice,” says Norma Reno, who founded Casa Venezuela Tampa Bay.

The group of 13 has made it their mission to educate the community on Venezuela's economic crisis.

Whether it's public speaking or marching in the streets, they're making their voices heard.

The organization helps Venezuelan refugees resettling in Tampa Bay along with sending donations to the country.

“We are at war in Venezuela. We're on the edge of having a civil war because people are fighting for their freedom and democracy,” says Reno.

The organization was founded in early June, but members of the group have been helping the Venezuelan people separately for years.

“You have the opportunity of protesting here and not being attacked by the National Guard or being bombed for expressing yourself,” she says.

It's a right Reno is thankful for: freedom of speech.

Protesters opposing the Maduro regime in Venezuela have been beaten and killed.

On July 30, 500 delegates will be tasked with rewriting the country’s current constitution.

Those opposing it fear that the country will end up with a Cuban-style government, where there are no free elections.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has said the new constitution is for the better.

“We're going to prevail and we're going to win this war,” says Ana Maria Tague, with Casa Venezuela Tampa Bay.

That's why Scott wants to pass a law prohibiting Florida from doing business with any organization that supports the Venezuelan government. He says he will give more details about the proposal before the Aug. 16 cabinet meeting.

But, it is important to note, federal courts have declared similar measures in the past relating to Cuba and Syria unconstitutional.

Tague oversees sending weekly donations to the country.

She says most hospitals are without basic medicine and the infant mortality rate is high.

“We're sending medical supplies, medicine, formula for the kids, diapers,” says Tague.

Aside from that help, the group is also informing local Venezuelans how to vote in the unofficial referendum taking place July 16, so they can have a say on what's written in the constitution.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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