Live updates: Bernie Sanders CNN town hall

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Sen. Bernie Sanders didn’t label Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” tonight, despite criticizing his government for failing to hold democratic elections.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Sanders, “Why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?”

“It’s fair to say the last election was undemocratic, but there are still democratic operations taking place in that country,” Sanders said. “What I am calling for right now is internationally supervised free elections.”

In a tweet on Saturday, Sanders called for a de-escalation of tensions on the country’s border with Colombia.

“The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis,” he tweeted. “The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.”

Sanders on Monday night again warned against the “unintended consequences” of foreign intervention, instead calling for “internationally supervised free elections.”

“I’m old enough to remember the war in Vietnam,” Sanders said, before ticking off past American political interference in Central and South America. “I am very fearful of the United States continuing to do what it has done in past — the United States overthrew a democratically elected government in Chile, and in Brazil, and in Guatemala.”

He then compared the “despotic regime” in Saudi Arabia with the leadership in Venezuela and said the US should do all it could to foster a “democratic climate.”

“But I do not believe,” he added, “in US military intervention in those countries.”



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