A Venezuelan assemblyman, who fled from the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro, has challenged the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to stroll on the streets of the South American country for a week without bodyguards.
“I suggest that Bernie Sanders take a week and go to Venezuela without bodyguards, and go onto the street and [use his] cell phone to [see] what’s going on,” the former lawmaker Jose Guerra said in a video interview with journalist Nicholas Ballasy on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Sen Bernie Sanders describes himself ask a “democratic socialist” and refused to label the Maduro regime as a dictatorship. Sanders claimed that “there are still democratic operations taking place” in the devastating country, in an interview on February 25.
In a message to American politicians like Sanders, Guerra said: “They don’t understand what is going on in Venezuela”. He added: “This is a dictatorship… [There are] 400 political prisoners. They are persecuted, like me. And it’s a new dictatorship, but it’s a dictatorship.”
Once one of the wealthiest nations in Latin America, Venezuela has become one of the poorest and most chaotic countries under the socialist policies of President Maduro and his precedent Hugo Chavez.
Human Rights Watch reported in Dec 2017 that Venezuela fell into a dictatorship, which “is tightening its stranglehold on the country’s basic institutions of democracy at a terrifying speed.”
The Trump administration and over 50 other governments support Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuelan National Assembly, after he declared to be the country’s interim president on Jan 23.
President Trump often refers to the collapse of Venezuela as a striking example for the danger of socialism.
“One of the most serious challenges our countries face is the specter of socialism. It’s the wrecker of nations and destroyer of societies,” the president said in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He continued: “Events in Venezuela remind us all that socialism and communism are not about justice, they are not about equality, they are not about lifting up the poor, and they are certainly not about the good of the nation. Socialism and communism are about one thing only: power for the ruling class.”
President Trump declared strongly in the speech: “Today, I repeat a message for the world that I have delivered at home: America will never be a socialist country.”