By Tim Nerozzi
As Venezuela — descends into anarchy, the support of high-profile Democrats for that country’s socialist regime could be a liability for the party in 2020.
Two announced candidates for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, have joined other party figures in providing tacit support to Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro is widely seen as, having stolen his re-election in 2018, prompting a political battle that has torn his country apart. Almost every Latin American country has called for him to leave office. His only noteworthy allies appear to be Cuba, South Africa, Syria, Russia and Iran. His socialist policies are widely seen as, having destroyed the country’s economy.
Nevertheless, Sanders, an avowed socialist whose 2016 run for president electrified the Democrat party and helped turn the party sharply to the left, declined to refer to Venezuelan Maduro as, a dictator in an interview early this week with Spanish language media, referring to him only as, “very abusive.”
Gabbard’s support for Maduro has come in the form of opposing American efforts to oust the dictator.
“The United States should not be in the business of… picking who should lead their country” she said in a video posted on social media earlier this year
Gabbard’s comment echoes those of other Democratic stars, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota who has denounced an alleged American supported “coup” in Venezuela.
Omar she denounced the Trump administration’s support of a “right-wing coup” its recognition of Juan Guaido AS the president of Venezuela.
Omar went further still on January 11th when she re-tweeted a note from a journalist from a media outlet funded by Venezuela’s socialist government. Abby Martin works for Venezuela’s TeleSur Network who believes that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were in fact a U.S. government conspiracy.
Although many party leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have taken a stronger stance against Maduro, the Venezuelan crisis has highlighted progressive sympathies for left-wing regimes. President Obama’s efforts to reduce sanctions against Cuba without requesting any reforms from its communist government was seen AS a victory by this wing of the Democratic Party.
This week Sanders has also faced renewed scrutiny for an interview given decades ago, in which he praised another Latin American socialist — Fidel Castro.
“Way back in, what was it, 1961, they invaded Cuba,” Sanders says in the 1985 video, “and everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world and all of the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society.
Sanders is a self-declared socialist and has praised on multiple occasions aspects of Cuba’s socialist society. California Senator Kamala Harris, another 2020 presidential hopeful, declared she was not a “democratic socialist” earlier this week and has yet to comment on the situation in Venezuela.
“The U.S. president whom Sanders hopes to unseat would be more than happy to make next year’s election a referendum on socialism,” said in an op-ed published by Slate this week.
President Trump gave a key speech in Florida earlier this week in which he continued to call for Maduro to step-down. Florida will be a key battleground of the 2020 election and the state has a large Cuban-American population.
Yet, the United States is not alone in recognizing the opposition as, the country’s true leader. Some 49 governments around the world have done so including most of South America and Europe many of these country’s (most notably Spain) are currently ruled by Socialist parties.
Indeed President Trump appeared to take a shot at Bernie Sanders and other American socialists during his 2019 State of the Union Address.
“We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair….Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country”
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