Venezuela's Maduro backs Sanders for US pres

2016-06-01 21:15
(Ariana Cubillos, AP)

(Ariana Cubillos, AP)

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Caracas - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has backed Bernie Sanders for US president, saying the self-described democratic socialist would win "if the election were free."

Sanders is nearly certain to lose the Democratic party's nomination to Hillary Clinton, but has doggedly refused to bow out, drawing large numbers of young voters and seeking to shift the party to the left.

Maduro, the political heir to late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, said Sanders's candidacy showed the United States "wants change" in the November election.

Venezuela has had a rocky relationship with the United States since Chavez came to power and launched a "revolution" in 1999.

The two countries have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010 and Caracas regularly accuses Washington of "imperialism."

Maduro is currently fighting off opposition attempts to force him from office in a recall referendum.

His popularity has plummeted as falling crude prices have plunged oil-rich Venezuela into a dramatic economic crisis marked by severe shortages of food and medicine, daily power cuts, weekly school closures and the near-paralysis of government offices.

Read more on:    bernie sanders  |  hillary clinton  |  nicolas maduro  |  venezuela  |  us 2016 elections

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