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Ex-US Congressman Ron Paul denounces American backing of Venezuela's failed coup

A file photo of former US Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul

Former US Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has denounced Washington’s backing for the botched coup in Venezuela, calling it ‘hypocrisy’ and urging the US government to learn lessons from the so-called war on terror.

“Where do we get the moral authority to be the decider?” Paul, a former member of the US House of Representatives and founder of the Ron Paul Institute, said Friday in an interview with RT.

“I think it’s rather ironic for our government to say they want to take care of Venezuela... by having a coup and threatening them with military violence because they’re not democratic enough,” he said.

American intervention in Venezuela’s affairs is “unwise, very dangerous, it will be costly, it’s against our rules, and if they pretend that we have to go in because we want to spread American values, those aren’t my values,” said Paul, whose son is Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

He said the US criticizes other countries for alleged ‘meddling’ but “when we do it, it’s right and proper and almost holy.”

Venezuela is convulsed by political crisis. On Wednesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the “interim president” of the country, rejecting the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn earlier after winning elections boycotted by the opposition.

Guaido, the president of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, was immediately recognized by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Shortly after Trump's recognition of Guaido as the South American country’s leader, Maduro said he was severing diplomatic and political ties with Washington, claiming that the US has given “orders” for a coup in the socialist Latin American country.

At least 10 countries, including Iran, China, Turkey, Syria and Russia, have warned the United States against intervention in Venezuela by recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Venezuela’s economy has collapsed under Maduro, with annual inflation running at 200,000 percent, and staple foods and basic medicine increasingly difficult to obtain, which has led to mass emigration.

Maduro has blamed a US-led economic war for the crisis, saying Washington is plotting to topple his socialist government.

In August 2017, American media reported that Trump had asked his top advisers about the potential for a US invasion of Venezuela. Around the same time, he said publicly that he would not rule out a “military option” to end the turmoil there.

“I’m sure there’s some harm done by Maduro and others,” Paul said, adding that he’s a critic of Venezuela’s socialism, which “usually leads to impoverishment” – but it’s not “our job” to carry out “unnecessary interventions.”

Paul also lamented the Trump administration’s inability to learn from history. “Have a look at US foreign policy of the last 10 years.”

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