Ilhan Omar: Blame America for Venezuela's devastation

If, like me, you’re far too young to have experienced American leftists reflexively apologizing for the USSR during Stalin’s reign, watching Ilhan Omar shill for Nicolas Maduro on Democracy Now is probably as close as we’ll get to the magic.

This isn’t her first public comment as a member of Congress on Venezuela. Here’s one from late January describing socialist opposition leader Juan Guaido as “far right,” a claim so glaringly false that it practically comes with a neon “propaganda” sign attached.

Omar’s been known to retweet anti-Trump musings from a host on Venezuela’s state-run TeleSur network. She’s not just producing her own handmade Maduro propaganda, in other words, she’s selling the genuine article. A person inclined to question Americans’ loyalty to the United States based on their support for a foreign state’s policies might wonder at this point how she prioritizes her own national loyalties.

One of the amusing things about Omar and other progressives like Bernie Sanders looking for ways not to criticize Maduro is that the left normally bristles when the right cites Venezuela as the logical end result of socialism. We’re not socialists like Maduro’s a socialist, many will say, we’re socialists like the Swedes are socialist. One easy way for them to hammer that point to voters would be to turn harshly against Maduro rhetorically — not to the point of endorsing U.S. intervention, necessarily, but certainly to the point of not sounding like you’re reading from a regime script on Democracy Now. (Bernie at least is willing to concede that Maduro’s is a “failed regime.”) But many can’t bring themselves to do it. Whether that’s because they’ve invested too much emotionally in Chavismo over the years to abandon it now or because “socialism” carries a talismanic appeal to them even in a case as malignant as Caracas, I don’t know. Whatever the explanation, this clip is more helpful to the right than the left.

Here’s where I remind you of a few things you already know. It wasn’t the U.S. who named Guaido as the rightful interim president of Venezuela, it was the country’s own legislature reacting to electoral fraud by Maduro. He’s been recognized as the lawful president by dozens of nations, not just the United States. Venezuela *is* being subjected to a military invasion as we speak, although not by forces allied with the U.S.: Russia has hundreds of troops there and Cuba has thousands, all over the objections of the lawful president. And Ilhan Omar has zero problem with sanctions in principle despite her handwringing about it here. She supports the BDS movement against Israel, after all. Like Stalin’s apologists, she’s not against getting tough with “the enemy,” she just has very different ideas about who the enemy is.

She’s saying this, by the way, ostensibly as an advocate of human rights on a network ostensibly dedicated to human rights a day after forces loyal to Maduro ran down protesters in the streets on international television. It’s perfection.