Omar: US policy 'helped lead the devastation in Venezuela'

Omar: US policy 'helped lead the devastation in Venezuela'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarKrystal Ball on Sanders debate performance: 'He absolutely hit it out of the park' Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey endorses Biden Democratic strategist on Sanders debate performance: 'I just think he might've topped out' MORE (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that U.S. policy in Venezuela “helped lead the devastation” in the South American country.

"A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela," the Minnesota lawmaker told the "Democracy Now!" news program.

"This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States."

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Omar has been critical of the Trump administration's efforts to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro out of office.

The U.S. has ramped up its sanctions on Venezuela and recognized National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as the country's interim president.

Guaidó, who has the backing of over 50 countries, claims that Maduro's 2018 election victory was illegitimate and has sought to wrest power from him to hold new elections.

Vice President Pence blasted Omar's remarks about Venezuela on Thursday.

"As Venezuelans take to the streets to stand for their freedom against an oppressive dictator, Democrat Congresswoman @IlhanMN chooses socialism over freedom," he tweeted.

"The Trump Administration stands with the freedom-loving people of Venezuela."

More than 100 people were reportedly injured and two were killed in protests this week aimed at forcing Maduro from office.