It’s probably not surprising that there are protesters who think the Trump administration ought to back off Nicolás Maduro’s nightmare regime in Venezuela. I’ve watched enough episodes of “Democracy Now!” to know that kind of inanity exists on the left.
Even I, however — weathered veteran of the inanity of the American left though I may be — didn’t think there were people willing to profess they would prefer Maduro to Donald Trump as president.
You learn new things every day, unfortunately.
This weekend was the “Hands Off Venezuela!” rally on Capitol Hill, a rally which in which the last true believers of Chávismo left in America gathered and tried to convince themselves sanctions on a regime which brutally represses its own people and wallows in self-inflicted misery is somehow just a victim of American imperialism.
It seems that there’s still some degree of sanity left, as hard-left commentary website Common Dreams and Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik News — both of which have a vested interest in pressing the ashes of the Maduro regime into a form that can somehow be propped up — pegged the attendance in the hundreds.
It wasn’t a surprise that those who turned out didn’t like Donald Trump. However, as The Daily Caller discovered, the extent of their dislike would have been comical were it not scary:
Would these people trade Trump for Maduro? “Yeah!” one immediately said. “I mean, I think Maduro was democratically elected.”
Actually, no, that would be Trump. Our president won the Electoral College 304 to 227 in an election where voter fraud wasn’t an issue. Maduro’s last election in May of 2018, as no less than The New York Times notes, was boycotted by opposition parties and rife “with reports of coercion, fraud and electoral rigging” all in the absence of international observers. But, I mean, other than that …
“More than likely, yes, of course,” another man said. “I would rather have a bus driver in charge than a billionaire, OK? Let’s put it that way.”
Madur, a former bus driver, is a dictator whose regime has tortured its own civilians in brutal crackdowns upon dissent, according to Human Rights Watch. As for Trump, a billionaire — well, not so much. Advantage: billionaire.
“More than 13,100 people have been arrested since 2014 in connection with anti-government protests, according to Foro Penal, a Venezuelan group that provides pro bono legal counsel to detainees in recent years,” the group said back in January.
“These include demonstrators, bystanders, and people taken from their homes without warrants. More than 7,500 have been conditionally released but remain subject to criminal prosecution. Since 2017, military courts have prosecuted more than 800 civilians, in violation of international human rights law.”
In other words, every single person who was at this march would probably have been detained for speaking out against the government were Maduro in power. Perhaps they would have been one of the more than 40 people who died during the January protests.
There’s a powerful ability to handle cognitive dissonance here. On Capitol Hill, near the centers of American power, a small group of people is able to peacefully protest their own government. In Venezuela, a small group like this would be swooped up into detention with no rights and no hope of a fair trial.
Oh, and by the way, these demonstrators all admit they weren’t doing anything of the sort when Barack Obama slapped sanctions on Venezuela, although they have their reasons for that. They all had their reasons for being out on Capitol Hill for Venezuela, too.
“I saw the movement through social media and I’m just out here to show solidarity, you know, with a country and them exercising their right for sovereignty,” one protester said. “And, you know, to try to resist American aggression.”
Well, good thing he’s not in Venezuela, where there’s a blackout on social media and a significant portion of the internet (in addition to actual blackouts). And don’t try showing solidarity with the wrong sort of people down there, or else you’ll end up in prison.