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Ilhan Omar Blames U.S. Policy for Upheaval in Venezuela

Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis, Minn., November 6, 2018 (Eric Miller/Reuters)

Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) blamed the U.S. on Wednesday for the “devastation” in Venezuela and accused America of “bullying” the country’s socialist regime.

Asked by Democracy Now! about the “U.S.-supported coup attempt against President Maduro,” Omar said that America’s push for regime change in Venezuela does not help the country’s citizens.

“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has [sic] kind of helped lead [to] the devastation in Venezuela,” Omar said. “And we’ve sort of 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, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States,” she added.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the U.S. supports the Venezuelan opposition’s effort, led by self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó, to oust President Nicolás Maduro. After Guaidó called for opposition protesters to take to the streets, they gathered in Caracas — Venezuela’s capital — and states around the country Wednesday, with some carrying the Venezuelan flag while others constructed molotov cocktails. Armored military trucks allied with Maduro were caught on film ramming into crowds of anti-government protesters.

Omar has been highly critical of U.S. policy in Latin America, and of Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams in particular. During Abrams’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in February, she said that she doubted his truthfulness, referencing his 1991 conviction on two counts of withholding information from Congress about his part in the Iran-Contra scandal.

“People like 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 devastations that they’ve had for decades,” Omar said Wednesday.

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