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Florida State Board passes resolution to prohibit Venezuela investments

Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, passed a resolution Wednesday to prohibit investments connected with Venezuela.

The resolution, signed by board members Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, states, "The current government of Venezuela is intolerable to its people and continues to demonstrate the use of extreme violence and political persecution in the orchestrated suppression of human rights."

The resolution, added to the investment policy, prohibits investments with any U.S.-based company or foreign subsidiary of U.S.-based company that does business with the government of Venezuela, and any securities issued by the government of Venezuela or company majority-owned by the government of Venezuela. Whether the board, which oversees a total of $195.4 billion including the $156.1 billion Florida Retirement System, has any of these kinds of investments has yet to be determined.

In a separate news release, Florida state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez said he has introduced a bill in the Florida Senate to take "stronger action."

"The people of Venezuela need us to side with them not just in word, but also in deed," Mr. Rodriguez said in the news release. "I have filed SB 70 for the 2018 legislative session which would add the (Nicolas) Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela to Florida's existing divestment programs and ensure that Florida taxpayers are not doing business with Wall Street firms assisting the Maduro regime. I welcome the SBA's initial step and look forward to continuing to work with them on taking concrete steps to support the Venezuelan people during a deepening political and economic crisis of Maduro's making."