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Elliott Abrams, left, listens to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talk about Venezuela at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 25, 2019. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Pointing to Disastrous History of US Intervention, Sanders Warns Against Military Action in Venezuela

"I will do everything I can to see that U.S. troops do not get involved in a civil war in Venezuela."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday condemned the Trump administration's threats to take military action in support of right-wing coup plotters in Venezuela.

The Vermont senator joined the chorus of progressive members of Congress and advocacy groups warning that U.S. intervention would only worsen political turmoil in Venezuela—and could potentially spark an all-out civil war.

"We must make sure the United States does not get involved in yet another war and destabilize another region."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

"The Trump administration is threatening a disastrous military intervention in Venezuela," Sanders tweeted. "Under our Constitution, only Congress can authorize the use of force. We must make sure the United States does not get involved in yet another war and destabilize another region."

Sanders—a 2020 presidential candidate—expanded on his opposition to military action in Venezuela during an interview on "Pod Save America," pointing to the devastating consequences of U.S. intervention throughout Latin America over the past several decades.

"Given our history of intervention in country after country in Latin America, the overthrow of [democratically elected Chilean President Salvador] Allende, the overthrow of the government of Brazil, Guatemala, other countries, the idea that we would intervene militarily in Venezuela is literally unbelievable," Sanders said. "It's beyond, you know, it's absurd."

Sanders said the United States must "do everything we can to prevent a horrific civil war in [Venezuela], not provoke one."

"I will do everything I can to see that U.S. troops do not get involved in a civil war in Venezuela," the senator said.

Sanders' comments came after days of violent clashes across Venezuela as opposition leader Juan Guaidó attempted a "military uprising" against the elected government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Guaidó's coup attempt appears to have petered out, but—as Common Dreams reported—Trump administration officials have continued to stoke tensions by threatening military intervention.

"The president has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent—military action is possible," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Fox Business interview on Wednesday.

While some prominent establishment Democrats—including former Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—have implicitly sided with the Trump administration by backing the coup attempt in Venezuela, a small group of progressive lawmakers has forcefully denounced U.S. interference in Venezuela's internal political affairs.

In an interview on Democracy Now! Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said U.S. policy in Venezuela helped "set the stage for where we're arriving today."

"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," said Omar. "People like [President Donald Trump's Venezuela envoy] Elliott Abrams, neocons and warmongers, you know, for so long have pushed for policies that are now—we can see, not only in Central America, but many parts of the world, the kind of devastation that they've had for decades."

According to a Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) report published last week, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela caused more than 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018.

Watch Omar's interview:


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