US Bipartisan Unity on Venezuela Starting to Crumble

Some Democrats are uncomfortable with attacking Venezuela

Among the leadership of both the Democrats and Republicans, the idea of US-backed regime change in Venezuela enjoys broad support. After this week’s failed coup, however, administration rhetoric is changing harshly, and some other officials are expressing disquiet about it.

Not that there is any real suggestion of ditching support for Guaido taking over. Instead, some Democrats are suggesting that the US should focus on getting more unity behind US sanctions, stop threatening to attack Venezuela, and importantly, to stop using rhetoric that the Maduro government can use for its own propaganda.

This last point in particular is a recurring concern, which some South American allies have warned the administration about for months. Maduro has long relied on allegations of US plots against him as a way to garner sympathy and support, and constant US talk of plotting against him makes that all the easier.

Among Democrats, how to approach these disagreements is also varying. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) suggested the focus be on “internationalizing” the sanctions, while Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) called for legislation to explicitly express Congressional opposition to a US invasion of Venezuela.

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), on the other hand, suggested that the US should emphasize that this is a popular uprising from within, and not a US-driven regime change. That seems to be a broad assumption to make, but he warned the White House should stop giving the appearance of it being a US imposed move.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.