“Anyone who thinks Venezuela has socialism is an ignoramus.”
In the wake of footage purportedly showing authorities from President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime brutally putting down protesters, American liberals are resisting attempts to characterize the violence as endemic to socialism.
Soldiers joined protestors in the streets of Caracas Tuesday in a bid to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government – and the world watched on social media.
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Opposition leader Juan Guaidó had earlier appeared at a military base in the heart of the capital and declared the start of Operation Liberty. Flanked by soldiers, he promised the military would side with the people in an uprising against “the dictator” Maduro.
What followed was widespread upheaval, which included military forces alternatively clashing with anti-government forces and turning against the government. Much of the tumult was captured on video and shared to social media.
Feminist journalist Caroline Orr tweeted out a video reportedly showing “Maduro’s national guard” mowing “down a group of pro-Guaido protesters in Venezuela.” Many, presumably conservative, commenters replied to Orr’s viral tweet by saying the turmoil was the natural result of a socialist-run government.
“Socialism in all of its disgusting glory,” wrote one commenter, who captured the general tenor of the conservative response to the footage.
“This is what will happen here in the United States if Bernie Sanders and AOC get their way!” Steve Donaldson Jr. wrote.
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But plenty of liberals dismissed efforts to link the situation in Venezuela to the ideology of socialism and compared Maduro to President Donald Trump, who expressed Tuesday his support for the anti-Maduro opposition.
“Maduro is a dictator. If Trump could effectively consolidate power, he’d follow in Maduro’s brutal footsteps,” Orr said in reply to Donaldson Jr.
Maduro is a dictator. If Trump could effectively consolidate power, he'd follow in Maduro's brutal footsteps.
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) April 30, 2019
Orr’s sentiments echoed those of other liberals who replied to attacks on socialist ideology by bringing up Trump.
That is behavior approved by a brutal madman, much as Trump would do.
— GaylesTwin (@GaylesTwin) April 30, 2019
“This could happen in the US if tRump loses in 2020. Things could get very scary if he refuses to leave the White House,” claimed one commenter replying to the footage of protesters getting run over.
I would actually call this totalitarianism if I was an honest observer
— Diner patron interview answerer (@randomdinerguy) April 30, 2019
Elsewhere on Twitter, users claimed that the Maduro regime wasn’t representative of “real socialism.”
That's not real socialism in Venezuela, ala Sweden or Denmark. It's straight up cronyism in Venezuela. Exactly the same system Teump wants to install right here at home.
Stop using that dictatorship as a weak pretext for maligning the vast majority of functional socialist states
— David Floren (@TheDavidFloren) April 30, 2019
“That’s not real socialism in Venezuela, ala Sweden or Denmark. It’s straight up cronyism in Venezuela. Exactly the same system Teump wants to install right here at home,” wrote one San Diego-based man in reply to a tweet from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Without using the phrase “That’s not real socialism,” the Twitter account for the Socialist Party of Great Britain made a similar argument.
The people do not have collective ownership of the means of production. It is not a class-free society where the people have democratic control over what happens. There is still production of goods for sale and profit. Anyone who thinks Venezuela has socialism is an ignoramus.
— The Socialist Party (@OfficialSPGB) April 30, 2019
“The people do not have collective ownership of the means of production. It is not a class-free society where the people have democratic control over what happens. There is still production of goods for sale and profit. Anyone who thinks Venezuela has socialism is an ignoramus,” the Socialist Party’s tweet read.
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- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders: Screen grab