Rep. Ilhan Omar said Wednesday that the United States is to blame for growing chaos in Venezuela under socialist Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
The Minnesota Democrat told Democracy Now that U.S. policies are driving violence in a nation rife with food shortages, power outages and Caracas protests that involve Venezuelan National Guard vehicles running over protesters.
“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today,” she said.
The Democrat’s comments come against a political backdrop in which opposition leader Juan Guaido has called on members of the military to turn on Maduro.
“This particular bullying and the use of sanctions [by the U.S.] 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.
Ms. Omar buttressed her stance by saying it was shared in principle by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
“She concurred with me that many of the sanctions that we impose [around the world] ultimately lead to devastations — and we are seeing it now in Venezuela —and ultimately lead to having severe problems in that country, which doesn’t stabilize life for the people, and certainly puts us here in the United States at risk.”
Omar slams Trump’s ‘shithole countries’ remark: Somalia raised a ‘very proud, dignified person’
Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday criticized remarks President Trump made in January 2018 asking why the U.S. is accepting immigrants from Haiti and “shithole” countries in Africa.
“I also happen to be a refugee and an immigrant from what they call one of the shithole countries. The reality is, that shithole country raised a very proud, dignified person. Our circumstances might not always be perfect, but that doesn’t lessen our humanity, and I am not in the business of defending mine,” the Minnesota Democrat said during a speech at a Capitol Hill “We Stand With Ilhan” support rally.
The rally was being held for Ms. Omar following recent blasts from Republican leadership including Mr. Trump, who has called her “extremely unpatriotic and extremely disrespectful” for her referring to the September 11 attacks as “some people [doing] something,”
The president tweeted an edited video of Ms. Omar’s speech with her comments on the attacks spliced with footage of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Ms. Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, said in a statement in March that she has “experienced an increase in direct threats” on her life since Mr. Trump’s tweet. Other lawmakers defended her, saying the quotes were “taken out of context” and demonstrated “Islamophobia.”
Ms. Omar has also faced accusations of anti-Semitism since criticizing pro-Israel lobbyist groups and questioning the loyalty of Jewish lawmakers who pushed back against her criticisms of the Israeli government.
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