Sen. Rick Scott meets in Orlando to discuss crisis in Venezuela

Scott supports protected status for Venezuelans

Sen. Rick Scott was in Orlando on Friday to meet with Venezuelan leaders.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sen. Rick Scott met with Venezuelan community leaders on Friday to discuss the United States' efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

During the meeting at First Baptist Orlando, Scott spoke about his visit to the border of Venezuela and said he witnessed people suffering from lack of food, clean water and access to medicine.

Scott said the situation is the result of President Nicolas Maduro remaining in power.

In January, President Donald Trump said his administration would officially recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Scott said that move and economic sanctions are steps that should continue as he called for a renewed effort to bring freedom to the country.

"The first thing we got to do is we got to get the world to understand there is absolute genocide going on," Scott said. "The other is for the people that are here, we've got to come up with a way for the Venezuelans that are here that they can stay here and prosper while we can fight to make sure they get their country back."

Scott said humanitarian efforts are a primary focus, but military options should also be left on the table.

Friday's meeting came a day after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would protect Venezuelan nationals from deportation.

Scott said he supports the temporary protected status and hopes the Senate can pass a bill that would ensure Venezuelans could remain in the U.S. until the situation improves in their home country.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.