Muslim US Representative Ilhan Omar has blasted the administration of President Donald Trump for backing the recent “coup” attempt against the legal government in Venezuela.
Omar, who in November became one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress, took to twitter to express outrage over Washington’s policy of “handpicking” leaders of other countries to serve corporate interests.
“We cannot hand pick leaders for other countries on behalf of multinational corporate interests,” Omar wrote Friday. “The legislature cannot seize power from the President, and Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared their actions unconstitutional.”
Venezuela has been convulsed by a political crisis. The Latin American country further plunged into crisis on Wednesday, after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” and rejected the presidency of Nicolas Maduro.
Minutes after Guaido’s self-proclamation, the US said it recognized him as the “legitimate” leader of Venezuela, calling on other countries to follow suit. Caracas responded by cutting ties with Washington.
Maduro, who began his second term this month after winning a vote boycotted by the opposition, has called Guaido an “agent of the gringos,” accusing him of taking orders from the US.
The Associated Press has revealed in a report that Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil in mid-December to brief officials on his plans to provoke unrest.
The US has also imposed several rounds of economic sanctions against Venezuela on the grounds that Maduro’s government undermined people’s democratic rights.
Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, said if the US wanted to really help Venezuelan people it could begin by removing the sanctions.
“If we really want to support the Venezuelan people, we can lift the economic sanctions that are inflicting suffering on innocent families, making it harder for them to access food and medicines, and deepening the economic crisis. We should support dialogue, not a coup!” she wrote.
The lawmaker also called on the White House to roll back foreign interventions and focus on domestic issues instead.
The US has a long record for “regime change” campaigns in Venezuela and other countries. In 2002, the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, was ousted for two days in a US-backed coup that was ultimately defeated.