Just one day after Bernie Sanders used the Hispanic-focused debate in Miami, Florida, to express his support for various progressive Latin American governments, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has returned the favor.
Maduro expressed support for Sanders during a public gathering in Caracas on March 9, which was officially inaugurated as “Anti-Imperialism Day” in Venezuela last year. It was on that day that President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a national security threat.
The Venezuelan president is especially impressed by what he terms Sanders’ “revolutionary” campaign message. “He is an emerging candidate with a renovating and revolutionary message,” Maduro told a large crowd that had gathered for the holiday.
“He is the son of Jewish immigrants from New York and was raised in Brooklyn,” he continued, showing appreciation for Sanders’ modest beginnings.
Just a few months ago, Sanders was on the end of some harsh criticism from the Venezuelan and wider Latin American left for calling former president Hugo Chavez a “dead communist dictator,” after the Vermont senator was compared to the Bolivarian revolutionary by Clinton-allied groups.
But during Wednesday’s Florida debate Sanders struck a different tone, slamming U.S. intervention in Latin America and praising the Cuban revoluton’s achievements in healthcare and education. “The U.S. was wrong to try to invade Cuba,” he said.
Sanders used the debate to reassert his position of non-intervention.
“It was wrong to support people trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. It was wrong to overthrow the democratically elected government of Guatemala,” he said.
And Maduro has now forgiven the socialist senator from Vermont, instead focusing his criticisms on current Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
“She is part of the Clinton clan, an accomplice of all these policies against Venezuela,” he said, while shaking his head: “Too arrogant, I have to say it, [she is] too arrogant.”
Maduro also emphasized the importance of Clinton’s role in the 2009 coup against former Honduras president Manuel Zelaya. “There are emails that prove what Clinton did,” Maduro said.