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Khanna, Ocasio-Cortez Among Progressive Democrats to Condemn US-Backed Regime Change in Venezuela

"Our government should change course in its policy toward Venezuela. Unilateral measures and violent threats only threaten to stoke chaos and instability."

Vice President Mike Pence greets people after speaking about  Venezuela at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on August 23, 2017 in Doral, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Over a dozen progressive House Democrats on Thursday condemned the Trump administration's "unacceptable" push for regime change in Venezuela.

The comments came in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and signed by Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), and 13 other House Democrats.

"President Donald Trump and other senior United States (U.S.) officials have generated alarm in Venezuela and throughout the region with actions and statements—such as the recent threat that 'all options are on the table'—which indicate a pursuit of American military-led regime change," reads the letter.

"Here's the mistake we make: We're quiet when these interventions are happening. Instead, we need to speak up right in the beginning when we see signs of interventionism that are going to make situations worse."
—Rep. Ro Khanna
The progressives also slammed the Trump White House for "crippling" millions of ordinary Venezuelans with unilateral sanctions.

"[T]he president's recent economic sanctions threaten to exacerbate the country's grave economic crisis, causing immense suffering for the most vulnerable in society who bear no responsibility for the situation in the country," the letter states.

Khanna, who spearheaded the letter, urged his Democratic colleagues to unite against U.S.-backed regime change and sanctions in an interview with HuffPost on Thursday.

"Here's the mistake we make: We're quiet when these interventions are happening," said Khanna, who has been an outspoken opponent of U.S. interference in Venezuela. "That was a mistake in Iraq, that was a mistake in Libya. Then afterwards we say, 'These interventions were a mistake and how do we rectify it?' Instead, we need to speak up right in the beginning when we see signs of interventionism that are going to make situations worse."

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The progressives' letter comes as Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton continue to lob threats at Venezuela's elected President Nicolás Maduro.

In an interview with Telemundo Wednesday night, Pence reiterated the White House's support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, but said there is "no timeline" on the U.S. push for regime change.

Trump's Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams—whose role in U.S.-backed massacres and genocide and Latin America during the 1980s has come under scrutiny since his appointment in January—said during a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday that the administration is planning to "expand the net" of sanctions against Venezuelan institutions.

While condemning the Maduro government for violence against protestors and "disregard of the rule of law," House progressives said the Trump administration's meddling is "making life worse for ordinary Venezuelans" and urged the White House to support peaceful negotiations.

"Unilateral measures and violent threats only threaten to stoke chaos and instability," the letter concludes. "Instead, the U.S. must abide by its obligation under the Organization of American States (OAS) Charter to abstain from using armed force or 'any other form of interference or attempted threat" against another state. We urge you to support efforts by Uruguay, Mexico, and the Vatican to promote dialogue and help Venezuelans resolve their own problems."

Read the full letter, which was first obtained by HuffPost:

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