Today's Democratic Socialists: Not so big on democracy

DSA also offered its support to Nicolás Maduro and his repressive regime in Venezuela. It ignored the human rights crisis created by the regime and, like other apologists, blamed the country’s plight and economic collapse on the United States. In March, DSA’s International Committee released a statement calling the lawful leader of the country, Juan Guaidó, a “CIA backed-operative.” Again, for the younger readers: This is Cold War-era language that was used by Soviet and Cuban rulers against the United States. A DSA statement in January 2019 called Guaidó part of “the right-wing Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party”—actually a centrist party affiliated with the Socialist International—who used a “legitimacy crisis” to proclaim himself Venezuela’s president. It accused the Trump administration of using the country as a “boogeyman to show the dangers of socialism,” and called instead for a “constructive” policy to end the crisis, explaining all of Venezuela’s problems as the result of “the US government’s sanctions against Venezuela’s oil sector.”

In the March statement, DSA’s International Committee condemned what it called the “wanton, reckless, and antidemocratic interventions [by the United States] in Venezuela,” arguing that in the illegitimate and farcical December 2020 elections, the Venezuelan people overwhelmingly voted for Maduro, and that the result was, as Maduro’s supporters claimed, “a massive victory” for the regime.

Earlier this month, DSA sent a delegation, including the chair of its National Political Committee, to meet with Maduro. The group ignored the reports by Amnesty International and the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights documenting the Chavez/Maduro regime’s many violations of human rights, including torture of the regime’s opponents, extrajudicial executions, and murder of opponents. Indeed, just a few days before DSA’s leaders were in Venezuela taking a Potemkin village tour of the country arranged by Maduro, the regime had arrested and indicted on obviously bogus charges the director of an independent nongovernmental human rights organization. The visiting group made no protest of this action.