The White House published a Spanish-language video message to the Venezuelan people on Thursday comparing socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro to Josef Stalin, Muammar Qaddafi, Benito Mussolini, and other tyrants who usurped power in their home countries, expressing solidarity with the opposition.
The video, published on Twitter, begins with a portion of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday in which he expressed solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition against Maduro. It then proceeds to explain, through a timeline of actions by the Maduro regime, how the dictator systematically made it impossible for opposition parties to compete politically, noting, in particular, the use of violence to silence protesters.
“Nicolás Maduro is a master of violating the Venezuelan constitution,” the text on the screen reads. “His tactics are copied directly from the innumerable authoritarian leaders before him.”
The video then shows images of, among others, Josef Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Qaddafi. Those images return at the end of the video, when the text declares, “we have seen this before.”
The video’s timeline begins in 2013, when Maduro took over for late dictator Hugo Chávez. It lists among the notable acts of Maduro’s tenure the imprisonment of dissident leader Leopoldo López for organizing peaceful protests in 2014, the failed attempt to replace the opposition-held National Assembly with a false legislature known as the “National Constituent Assembly” in 2015, the killing of dozens of protesters at the hands of soldiers deployed to torture and kill them since Maduro over, and his most recent rigged election, which resulted with his presidential victory against no opposition candidates.
— La Casa Blanca (@LaCasaBlanca) February 7, 2019
Nicolás Maduro is no longer the president of Venezuela. As of January 23, the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, is officially the nation’s interim president, designated with organizing free and fair elections to fully transition out of the Maduro era. President Trump was among the first world leaders to recognize Guaidó’s constitutionally mandated rule, now one among nearly fifty world leaders to do so.
During his State of the Union address Tuesday, Trump once again reiterated support for Guaidó.
“Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaidó,” President Trump said. “We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.”
Trump also took the opportunity to condemn Democrats who have embraced socialism as a viable political ideology.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” he told Congress. “America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”
In terms of concrete support, Washington rapidly answered Guaidó’s call for the international community to provide food and medical aid to the people of Venezuela, who regularly face starvation and have no access to basic healthcare thanks to Maduro’s policies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last month that America would send $20 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela through the border with Colombia. That aid began arriving yesterday, but Maduro deployed troops to block the trucks full of food and medicine from entering the country.
Maduro claims the aid is a trap and that American soldiers will hide in the trucks and attack Venezuela if the trucks are allowed in, a claim for which he has provided no evidence. He has also denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and, rather than provide aid for the Venezuelan people, recently sent a shipment of construction materials to Cuba for use in reconstructing much of central Havana, devastated by a rare tornado this month.