“You know, I mean, a lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela.”
During an interview Wednesday with Democracy Now!, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded to a question about the popular arising against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime by saying the United States has “helped lead the devastation in Venezuela” and characterized U.S. policy toward the South American nation as “bullying.”
Before engaging in a discussion on a rally held for Omar in Washington, D.C., Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman asked Omar to comment on “the U.S.-supported coup” against Maduro.
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“You know, I mean, a lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today,” Omar said. “This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”
Asked for her thoughts on the appointment of Elliot Abrams, who President Donald Trump selected to serve as special envoy to Venezuela, Omar was similarly critical about U.S. policy.
“I remember talking to Madam Secretary Albright and talking to her about the success of sanctions we impose around the world and how some of them have devastating effects on the actual population and not on the governments that we see as our adversaries,” she said.
“And she concurred with me that many of the sanctions that we impose ultimately lead to devastations—and we are seeing it now in Venezuela—and ultimately lead to having severe problems in that country, which doesn’t stabilize life for the people, and certainly puts us here in the United States at risk,” the freshman congresswoman added.
Since Juan Guaido declared the launch of Operation Liberty on Tuesday, calling on Venezuelan citizens and military to rise up against the “dictator” Maduro, opposition forces have clashed in the streets with Venezuelan government loyalists. In one particularly gripping scene captured on video and shared widely on social media, a Venezuelan military vehicle is seen mowing down anti-Maduro protesters.
Omar is among the first lawmakers to speak out against U.S. policy. Trump’s administration has thrown its support behind the opposition, with Vice President Mike Pence tweeting out encouragement to Guaido on Tuesday.
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