Bernie Sanders just can't bring himself to call Venezuela's Maduro a 'dictator'

Socialist Venezuela has always been a tough topic for socialist Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and nowhere has that been more evident than in his response to a town hall question, asking the obvious. Fox News has a report:

2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday night refused to call Venezuela's disputed President Nicolás Maduro a “dictator,” saying “there are still democratic operations taking place” in the war-torn country.

Sanders' comments in a CNN town hall came as Univision reported that anchor Jorge Ramos and his television crew were detained in Caracas following an interview with Maduro.


“Why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?” Blitzer asked.

“I think it’s fair to say that the last election was undemocratic, but there are still democratic operations taking place in that country. The point is, what I’m calling for right now is internationally supervised fair elections,” Sanders responded.

“And, I do find it interesting that Trump is very concerned about what goes on in Venezuela, but what about the last election that took place in Saudi Arabia? Oh, there wasn’t any election in Saudi Arabia. Oh, women are treated as third-class citizens. So, I find it interesting that Trump is kind of selective as to where he is concerned about democracy. My record is to be concerned about democracy all over the world, so we’ve got to do everything we can but at the end of the day, it’s gonna be the people of Venezuela who determine the future of their country, not the United States of America.”

In other words, Bernie can call for humanitarian aid all he likes, as well as free and fair elections, sounding all great to the peanut gallery, but it's all hot air, because the hard fact remains that there isn't going to be any food or free elections in that country because ... dictator.

Dictators don't like free and fair elections, and socialist dictators in particular have always used food as a weapon to starve their subjects into submission. That's why no socialist has ever allowed free or fair elections let alone food aid to ever get in, even as a safety valve to ensure their stay in power, which is what other dictators do. So long as Maduro the dictator is rin place, Bernie's calls for internationally supervised elections and food to the hungry are nothing but hot air.

Yet Bernie still refuses to call Maduro a 'dictator' even though it's that very dictatorship that is what is preventing Bernie's calls from happening. And in that refusal, all anyone can conclude is that Bernie doesn't care.

What's more, he's been pretty quick on the trigger to call President Trump a dictator, saying his administration is "displaying signs of totalitarianism" because that's the guy who really upsets him. Not Maduro, who's out there openly starving his people and burning food aid in their faces, but Trump.

His reasoning is exquisitely stupid, given that all dictatorships have a veneer of democratic institutions, and "rule of the people." There are no democratic institutions left in Venezuela save the one the U.S. and the international community recognizes, which is the tiny National Assembly which is currently working with President Trump and the international community to bring in food aid. Maduro appointed his own 'constitutional assembly' to make sure that that elected National Assembly, loaded with Maduro opponents, don't have any power. To claim that some democratic institutions still remain is a revolting thing, in that it uses the brave Venezuelans who are standing up to Maduro as a prop to justify Maduro's permanent power. By Bernie's logic, because that small, stripped-of-power group is standing up to Maduro, Maduro can't possibly be a dictator. 

Sanders is showing some amazing hypocrisy in his seemingly rational calls for change in Venezuela, served up with a heaping helping of fury at the supposed historic wrongs conducted by the U.S. Again, that's what really bothers him, far more than Maduro, whose socialism was highly praised by Sanders in the past as arguably his vision for America. Socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro himself has called socialist Sanders "our revolutionary friend" and said he would be president here "if [U.S.] elections were free." One hand washes the other, Bernie?

Sanders himself also had the quotes in this beauty on his own website, and reportedly actually said it:

And so it’s worth remembering that Venezuelan socialism has long had its champions in the United States, most notably Bernie Sanders, who in 2011 said, “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina.” The Vermont senator concluded with this taunt: “Who’s the banana republic now?” Good question, Bernie.  

 Meanwhile, that techy, techy defensiveness about Trump and Saudi Arabia is nothing but a bid to deflect the question of how a once-rich country turned hellhole could get in that state. Socialism, Bernie? This is socialism done by experts.

What we see here in Sanders's refusal to call Maduro a dictator is the mask off. His statement is nothing but an effort to protect a dictator, by saying he's not a dictator. If anything should sink his disgusting socialist presidential candidacy, this is it.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

If you experience technical problems, please write to