“I’m focused on my campaign.”
With Venezuela in chaos, a video has resurfaced of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., being questioned about the South American country’s crisis back when he first ran for president in 2016.
During a May Univision interview, Mexican anchor León Krauze noted that “the socialist model in Venezuela has the country near collapse,” and the leftist governments in Argentina and Brazil were also struggling. Krauze wondered what Sanders thought about those realities as a proponent of socialist-style politics.
“How do you explain that failure?” he asked.
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In a bizarre exchange, Sanders acknowledged that he had opinions on the subject, but refused to share them.
Looking flustered, Sanders protested: “You’re asking me questions …”
“I am sure you’re interested in that,” Krauze pressed.
“I am very interested, but right now I’m running for President of the United States,” said Sanders, who soon thereafter lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton.
“So you don’t have an opinion about the crisis in Venezuela?” Krauze said.
“Of course I have an opinion, but as I said, I’m focused on my campaign,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ reticence was in a way understandable. Earlier in the campaign, he had been forced to defend interviews he gave in the 1980s in which he was much more forthcoming with his views on socialism – praising the the accomplishments of the Soviet Union, Cuba and Nicaragua.
In recent years – including as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate – Sanders has preferred pointing to Scandinavian social democracies, like Norway, Sweden and Denmark as models for the United States.
On Tuesday, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ruthlessly suppressed a popular uprising against his failing regime, Sanders again stayed silent– as did most of his new disciples in Congress.
However, he did tweet what could be read as an admonishment of the Trump administration not to help topple Maduro, saying that the United States has for “far too long” favored “militarism over diplomacy.”
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