Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) tweeted that the United States should not support the political opponent of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro at this time, "during an internal, polarized conflict."
The California congressman directed his tweet at Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who expressed support for recognizing Maduro's opponent, National Assembly President Juan Guaido.
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"With respect Senator Durbin, the US should not anoint the leader of the opposition in Venezuela during an internal, polarized conflict. Let us support Uruguay, Mexico, & the Vatican's efforts for a negotiated settlement & end sanctions that are making the hyperinflation worse," Khanna tweeted on Thursday.
With respect Senator Durbin, the US should not anoint the leader of the opposition in Venezuela during an internal, polarized conflict. Let us support Uruguay, Mexico, & the Vatican's efforts for a negotiated settlement & end sanctions that are making the hyperinflation worse. https://t.co/qoAb2ou95g
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) January 24, 2019
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) retweeted Khanna's tweet.
In a statement Wednesday, Durbin praised President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Guaido as the leader of Venezuela.
Last year I visited Venezuela and found a country on the verge of political, economic, and humanitarian collapse. I told then-President Maduro that if he went ahead with a sham election under absurdly rigged conditions he would find his regime even further isolated and in question. Tragically that is exactly what has happened and why President Trump, Secretary General of the Organization of American States Almagro, and other nations in the region have appropriately recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the constitutionally appropriate leader of Venezuela.
Trump recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president after the National Assembly of Venezuela declared Maduro illegitimate. "In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant. The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law," Trump said in a statement.
Maduro cut ties with the United States in response, ordering American diplomats to leave within 72 hours, but the United States said it would ignore the deadline.
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and several other countries in the region have also recognized Guaido as president. Mexico, Bolivia, and Cuba continue to recognize Maduro. Russia's deputy foreign minister warned against American military intervention in Venezuela.