Members of the U.S. Congress are slamming U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize a Venezuelan opposition leader as the country’s interim president.
Trump’s decision last week worsened the U.S. row with the elected government of President Nicholas Maduro, who calls American intervention in Venezuelan affairs a “coup” attempt.
“We must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups,” said Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential hopeful.
“The U.S. has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American nations; we must not go down that road again.”
Three other Democratic members of Congress — California’s Ro Khanna, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, and Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard — have also condemned the U.S. policy on Venezuela.
“A U.S. backed coup in Venezuela is not a solution to the dire issues they face,” tweeted Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress.
Omar added that instead of pursuing policies that may incite violence and instability, the U.S. should make efforts to facilitate a peaceful dialogue in Venezuela.
“The “U.S. should not anoint the leader of the opposition in Venezuela during an internal, polarized conflict,” wrote Khanna on Twitter.
Tulsi Gabbard, who is running for president in 2020, tweeted, “The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela.”
She added: “Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders — so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”
The Democratic Socialists of America, whose members include Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also called Trump’s decision to legitimize Guaido a “U.S.-backed coup.”
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Last week, Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself acting president, and Trump recognized him as such.
Following suit were Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay, while Bolivia and Mexico continue to recognize Maduro.
Russia and China both opposed the U.S. call to support Guaido, and condemned any international interference in the affairs of Venezuela. Turkey and Iran have also put their weight behind Maduro.