Venezuela’s Socialist President is Feeling the Bern

The worst kept secret is out: socialist Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has all but endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the race for the White House. According to news reports, Maduro gushed over Sanders’ candidacy, hailing the insurgent candidate as his “revolutionary friend.”

But with Venezuela crumbling as a result of failed socialist policies implemented under Maduro, it’s easy to see why Sanders has largely ignored the endorsement.

Venezuela is in dire straits. Electricity, running water and basic food supplies are scarce. The hungriest are hunting dogs for food. And then there are heart-wrenching stories of newborns dying in intensive care units as a result of medication and medical supply shortages.

And yet Sanders’ success in the Democratic primary shows that far too many Americans are ignoring the catastrophe unfolding in Venezuela. The demise of the once prosperous South American nation is just one of the many examples of what happens when a country turns its back on a free-enterprise system that has done so much to lift people out of poverty.

But with Bernie Sanders promising free college, a single-payer health care program and generous entitlement programs for the working and middle class, it’s a no-brainer why socialist president Maduro is “feeling the Bern.”

After describing Sanders as his “revolutionary friend,” Maduro denounced the U.S. Electoral College, which he called “archaic” and a “hidden force of change.” Maduro said America’s flawed constitutional system is the only way to explain a Trump victory in the fall.

Maduro also found time to advise Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton to pick a “Vice President from the Left” if she wants to win the White House.

As for Sanders, he has been quiet about the failures of socialism in Latin America despite a long track record of praising communist president Fidel Castro and other leftist Latin American governments. In a recent television appearance on Fusion, a network aimed at Millennials and Latinos, Sanders refused to weigh in on the chaos in Venezuela, saying he was focused on winning the Democratic primary.

This curious silence was met with skepticism from even left-leaning liberal outlets such as Latino Rebels, which wrote: “For someone who has spoken about Latin America in the past and who should know that these issues being asked are of actual importance to many young Latino voters, someone on the Sanders campaign should have prepped the candidate a bit more.”

Sanders’ silence on Venezuela’s demise is telling. He knows that if more and more Americans — particularly the young and impressionable — learn more about the failures of central planning and socialism elsewhere, support for his candidacy could evaporate quickly. Don’t expect a press release anytime soon from the Sanders campaign bragging about his Maduro endorsement.

Israel Ortega is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter: @IzzyOrtega