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Senator Bernie Sanders. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Florida Democrats are increasingly frustrated with Bernie Sanders’ unwillingness to recognize Nicolás Maduro as a dictator and accept opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate president, according to a new Politico report Thursday.

Why it matters: The humanitarian and economic crises in the South American nation have dominated the political conversation in the country’s largest swing state. Republicans are seizing on the issue and President Trump, who is pushing Maduro to step aside, recently visited Miami where he sought to make inroads with Venezuelan-Americans and other Democratic-leaning Latinos who have fled Venezuela's authoritarian regime.

In Florida, where major elections have repeatedly been decided by razor-thin margins, Democrats argue that Sanders stance could hurt the party in 2020.

"He is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He has demonstrated again that he does not understand this situation. I absolutely disagree with his imprecision in not saying Maduro must go."
— Rep. Donna Shalala (D), who represents Venezuelan exiles, told POLITICO.
  • State Sen. Annette Taddeo, another Miami Democrat, told Politico she's "dumbfounded" by Sanders' position.
  • Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party has said: "We recognize Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela, denounce the legitimacy of the Maduro regime and his efforts to remain illegally in power,“ Politico reports.

The big picture: Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has largely been silent on Venezuela, but he has criticized Maduro’s government on Twitter and attacked its authoritarianism and repression of democracy, while objecting to U.S. intervention.

  • As Politico notes, Venezuela hasn't yet become a key issue in the Democratic primary, though candidates like Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren have both labeled Maduro as a dictator.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.

Scoop: Over 200 papers quietly sue Big Tech

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.