Friday, February 22, 2019
Democrats are denouncing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for refusing to call Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro a dictator. Sanders also would not say whether he considered Venezuela's assembly leader, Juan Guaidó, as the nation's interim president, which is the position of the United States and a majority of Latin American countries and European countries.
Democrats, already alarmed that Trump's inroads with Venezuelans could help him peel off an otherwise-reliable Democratic voting bloc, were quick to denounce Sanders' comments. "He is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He has demonstrated again that he does not understand this situation," Rep. Donna Shalala, a Miami Democrat who represents Venezuelan exiles and, told POLITICO. "I absolutely disagree with his imprecision in not saying Maduro must go."
The emerging issue hasn't yet spilled into the broader Democratic primary for president. Most candidates haven't weighed in, some by choice.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Vice President Joe Biden, however, have clearly stated they consider Maduro a dictator and Guaidó the legitimate leader of Venezuela. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Pod Save America that she believed Maduro was a dictator and suggested she supported the "diplomatic part" of Trump's backing of Guaidó, though she faulted him for too much "saber rattling."
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