Pence Visits Florida to Make a Lesson of Socialist Venezuela

By Jonathan Levin and Anna Edgerton

"The primary motivation I believe is one of trying to relieve humanitarian distress," said AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth in Bloomberg. 

As socialism gains traction among left-leaning Democrats, Republicans are turning stricken Venezuela into a cautionary tale.

Vice President Mike Pence is set to give a Venezuela policy speech on Friday in Florida -- a seat of anti-socialist sentiment since the Cuban Revolution. The move is at once a high-profile riposte to far-left Democrats like New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an attempt to make inroads in America’s largest swing state and a move to further pressure strongman President Nicolas Maduro, who is clinging to power...

To be sure, Democrats support the general drift of Trump’s policy on Venezuela, too. The administration’s move has been seen by many as a so-far nonviolent attempt to defend democracy in the Western Hemisphere. Under Maduro, democratic institutions have deteriorated, the economy has collapsed, hyperinflation has taken hold and food and medicine have grown scarce, pushing the exile community to about 3 million across the globe.

“I don’t see this as primarily a political issue," said Eric Farnsworth, vice president at the Council of the Americas. “Sure, it may play well, but the primary motivation I believe is one of trying to relieve humanitarian distress."...

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