US state plans to punish companies doing business with Venezuela

World Today

The state of Florida is home to about 100,000 Venezuelans. It also exported more than $1 billion worth of goods to Venezuela last year. But now, Florida is considering a move designed to target President Nicolas Maudro’s government.+

CGTN’s Steve Mort explains.

The Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce says most of its approximately 500 members do business in both countries.

“That does not mean that they are promoting any efforts with the Venezuelan government or the Venezuelan regime,” Andriana Kostencki, president of the Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce said.

Even Goldman Sachs could be caught in the crosshairs.

The banking giant recently acquired billions of dollars of bonds issued by Venezuela’s state-run oil company.

In a statement, Goldman said ‘we have not conducted business with the Maduro regime and do not intend to.” It goes on to say “many asset managers make similar investments every day for clients.”

Florida passed a law in 2012 targeting Cuba and Syria. But a court ruled the measure unconstitutional for usurping federal law.

“Traditionally the role of dealing with foreign countries is left to the federal government, not to individual states,” Jorge Guttman, vice president of Venezuelan American National Bar Association said.

But amid the chaos in Venezuela, the Florida governor said he’ll press ahead. He’s expected to detail his proposals at a Cabinet meeting in August.