DORAL (CBSMiami) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke out against potential trade deals to import oil from Venezuela after the U.S. banned Russian oil imports.
"You say you don't want to deal with Putin because he's a dictator, fine I'm all for that, but then don't turn around and go to Maduro who has committed all kinds of atrocities," DeSantis said.
The governor held a roundtable discussion with members of the Venezuelan community at Jesus Worship Center. He's critical of the Biden Administration's decision to approach Venezuela.
"I believe this country should be energy independent. We have a huge amount of energy reserves in this country," he explained.
DeSantis wants to see energy production expanded domestically.
"Let's be clear with these secret talks with the Maduro regime, he is betraying Venezuela, he is betraying the future of Venezuela," Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said.
Venezuela was hit with sanctions back in 2019 to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to give up power.
Doral is home to a large population of Venezuelans but they're not the only ones who fear a dictatorship like Maduro.
"So to stand behind Venezuela is to me like standing behind the liberty of Cuba as well, would I buy from Cuba if they had petroleum? No," Jeanette Mena said.
Washington has yet to ease sanctions, but some already feel harm has been done.
"We can't fight for Russia, it doesn't work like that," Jackie Barrios said.
Others question the relationship Venezuela has with Russia, the two countries have been longtime trade and military partners.
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