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Rubio Seems to Threaten Maduro With Gadhafi Pics

Fla. senator being criticized for 'remarkably stupid' tweet some see as hint at US military intervention
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2019 7:53 AM CST
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Feb. 11, 2019, about the crisis in Venezuela.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Marco Rubio is known for his biblically themed tweets, but a different sort of post made waves over the weekend. On Sunday, the Florida senator sent out side-by-side photos of Moammar Gadhafi—one showing the late Libyan dictator in his prime, the second showing him bloodied and roughed up, right before he was murdered by rebels in October 2011. Although Rubio's tweet came with no accompanying caption, the Daily Beast reports it was widely interpreted as a warning shot fired at Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, based on Rubio's publicly known stance on Venezuela and his recent tweets on the subject. Rubio is vocally anti-Maduro and in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido, and though he hasn't come out and said so directly, his tweet seems to hint at US military intervention in beleaguered Venezuela, much as the West poked its way into Libya before Gadhafi's death.

The Independent notes that the day before Sunday's cryptic tweet, Rubio voiced a similarly ominous warning, tweeting that "it is now clear that the grave crimes committed today by the Maduro regime have opened the door to various potential multilateral actions not on the table just 24 hours ago." At least four people have died along Venezuela's border with Brazil after confrontations with pro-government militias, while hundreds have been injured along the country's border with Colombia, per the Washington Post. Slate rounds up posts calling Rubio's tweet "remarkably stupid" and "not the way to defeat Maduro," noting that Rubio handed Maduro a "propaganda victory" and a "gift" with his post, as now Maduro "has something else he can point to as evidence of his claim that he is the victim of a US-sponsored coup." (Rubio went after celebrity chef Salt Bae for hosting Maduro.)

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