Venezuela's Maduro rooting for
'revolutionary friend' Sanders in U.S. campaign
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[June 01, 2016]
By Girish Gupta and Corina Pons
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's embattled
president, Nicolas Maduro, said on Tuesday night he supported Bernie
Sanders in the U.S. presidential race, adding that the candidate, who
describes himself as a democratic socialist, would win if the vote were
Maduro, a socialist who sees himself as the political heir to his
predecessor, Hugo Chavez, has long railed against the United States,
blaming it for Venezuela's economic crisis and accusing Washington
of attempting to topple him.
"Bernie Sanders, our revolutionary friend, ought to win in the
United States," Maduro said during an hours-long televised
"If the elections were free ... Bernie Sanders would be president of
the United States," he said, criticizing the U.S. Electoral College
system as unrepresentative of popular sentiment.
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, trails former Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination for
the Nov. 8 presidential election.
In an email to supporters in September, Sanders called Chavez a
"dead communist dictator."
Venezuela is reeling from a brutal economic crisis that has seen
food and medicine running short and spiraling inflation destroying
The United States and Venezuela have had troubled relations since
Chavez became president in 1999, and the countries have not
exchanged ambassadors since 2010.
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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during
a campaign rally in Santa Cruz, California May 31, 2016.
Maduro suffered a blow on Tuesday, when the head of the
Washington-based Organization of American States called an urgent
meeting to discuss whether Venezuela was violating basic democratic
principles, paving the way for a vote that could suspend it from the
regional diplomatic body. (http://reut.rs/1P1h0ND)
Maduro is also under pressure from Venezuela's opposition, which is
pushing for a recall referendum to remove him from office this year,
although authorities have said there would be no such vote.
(Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez in New York; Writing by
Girish Gupta; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Peter Cooney)
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