Jose Guerra, a member of the National Assembly legislature in Venezuela, told PJM that Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) should live in Venezuela for an extended period of time without bodyguards to see how bad the humanitarian crisis is in the country under Nicolas Maduro's dictatorship.
Guerra was asked for his opinion of politicians such as Sanders not referring to Maduro as a dictator.
"Maybe they misunderstand what is going on in Venezuela. It's a dictatorship. There's no power separation and more than 400 political prisoners that have been prosecuted like me. It's a new dictatorship," Guerra said during a recent video interview. "Those people should go to Venezuela and live in Venezuela for a couple of weeks in order to have a very good picture of what is going on in Venezuela. I suggest that they go to Venezuela."
To date, more than 50 countries support recognizing Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, as the country's president. According to a report in July, Guerra, a member of the assembly’s finance commission, "left Venezuela in June when the Supreme Court stripped him of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution. The commission is now missing five of its 12 members." The report also said "intelligence agents" in Venezuela "arrested Guaido’s assembly deputy, Edgar Zambrano, in May and he remains jailed."
Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson attended a protest at the Venezuelan Embassy in May and argued against the forceful removal of Maduro.
"I don't know that Jesse Jackson and Bernie Sanders know in a very good way what is going on in Venezuela," Guerra said. "I suggest Bernie Sanders take a week and go to Venezuela without bodyguards and go to the street and speak with a cell phone and see what is going on with Bernie Sanders, OK?"
According to a report from March about the record inflation and failing economy in Venezuela, "robbers who used to zip around Caracas on motorcycles, shoving pistols into car windows and demanding wallets, are now reduced to walking. There simply aren’t spare parts for their bikes. In the past, thieves often snatched cellphones from passengers on the little buses that clogged Caracas highways. But public transportation barely functions anymore."
Guerra was in Washington to attend the signing of a "Development Objective Agreement to formalize USAID development support to the legitimate Government of Venezuela" with Mark Green, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Carlos Vecchio.
Colombia President Ivan Duque recently compared Maduro's rule to a dictatorship at the United Nations. Guerro applauded Duque's leadership.
"It's clear for us that Maduro is a dictator, there's no question about that and I think that Colombia and President Duque is helping a lot. They allow us to use passports," Guerro said. "Duque is doing everything that can help us in order to restore democracy in Venezuela."