Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is a dangerous dictator who needs to be ousted from power immediately! All good and honest politicians in America, left or right, should completely support any and all intervention in this matter, and should recognize the opposition party leader, Juan Guaidó, as the rightful ruler of the country!
This is the U.S. foreign policy blob’s line. And god help you if you even stray from it even a little bit, as 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has.
According to Politico, Sanders has already begun angering the establishment by saying insane, ridiculous things... like that people should be able to choose the leader of their own country, and that America has a history of backing brutal coups in Latin America.
In an interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos on Tuesday, Sanders took a slightly different tack than the majority of the political establishment when discussing Maduro and Venezuela. (Univision and Splinter share the same parent company, and Ramos’ weekly column runs on Splinter.) Generally, Sanders agreed with much of the establishment that Maduro’s last election was fishy at best, and that he has used brutal strategies to repress his people.
“There are serious questions about the recent election. There are many people who feel it was a fraudulent election,” Sanders said in reference to Maduro’s 2017 election.
“I think clearly he has been very, very abusive,” he added, when asked if Maduro should step down. “That is a decision of the Venezuelan people, so I think, Jorge, there’s got to be a free and fair election. But what must not happen is that the United States must not use military force and intervene again as it has done in the past in Latin America, as you recall, whether it was Chile or Brazil or the Dominican Republic or Guatemala.”
Seems pretty reasonable!
But when Ramos asked Sanders if he recognized Guaidó, who declared himself interim president last month, as the rightful leader of Venezuela, Sanders veered off script.
“No,” he said.
Sanders also refused to say whether he believed Maduro should step down.
Politicians in Florida, where Latin American immigrants have migrated to escape conflicts in their home countries, completely flipped out.
“He is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He has demonstrated again that he does not understand this situation,” Florida Rep. Donna Shalala told Politico. “I absolutely disagree with his imprecision in not saying Maduro must go.”
Shalala represents a district with many Venezuelan exiles as residents. Unlike conservative Cuban exiles, her constituents tend to vote Democrat. But they also clearly have a negative opinion of the Venezuelan government.
On Twitter, Sanders’ chief of staff Ari Rabin-Havt responded to Shalala’s comments.
Even the Florida Democratic Party got in on denouncing Sanders’ merely tepid hatred of Maduro.
“Florida Democrats have been unequivocal: We recognize Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela, denounce the legitimacy of the Maduro regime and his efforts to remain illegally in power,” they said in a statement to Politico.
The message these Democrats are sending is clear: get with the program, or we will do everything in our power to stop you from getting the nomination. Anything else is a distraction. There is no point contemplating alternatives.