Representatives of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist political organization in the United States, met with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro Friday.
In attendance were the chairperson of the National Political Committee of the DSA, members of the International Committee, and members of the organization’s Political Formation, Foreign Policy and Bilateral Relations committees, according to Telesur.
In 2016, the DSA released a statement of support with the Venezuelan regime and its citizens, demanding that former President Barack Obama revoke the sanctions imposed on Venezuela.
“We call on the President and Congress to reverse these actions and stop seeking to undermine the Venezuelan people and their legitimate, democratically elected government,” the DSA said.
A number of self-professed Democratic Socialists currently sit in Congress, including progressive Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman. Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez are members of the ultra left-leaning “squad” in the House of Representatives, which has advocated radical legislative measures ranging from the Green New Deal to defunding the police to reparations.
Maduro, decried by many as a dictator operating a corruption-ridden regime, has been accused of profiting off the starvation of Venezuelans, refusing humanitarian aid from outside the country, plunging the population into poverty, and and perpetrating human-rights atrocities against his own people.
Republicans have urged the Biden administration to resume a pressure campaign to hold the ruler accountable. The United States recently rejected Maduro’s plea for sanctions relief and to normalize diplomatic relations, claiming that the regime needs to make constructive efforts towards restoring democracy before penalties can be lifted.
Democratic Socialist legislators have yet to outright denounce Maduro. In 2019, Ocasio-Cortez called the country’s crisis a “complex issue” and advised that “we approach” it “very carefully” after saying she opposed U.S. intervention into Venezuela if spearheaded by Trump administration.