“Violence is horrible.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was directly asked by a reporter on Thursday to pick a side in the conflict in Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro’s regime or the opposition, led by National Assembly President Juan Guaidó.
It would be an easy question for most U.S. politicians. Guaidó heads the only democratically elected institution in his country, the National Assembly, and his supporters include the United States and more than 50 other countries, including most of South America and Europe.
WATCH: Omar Says US Has ‘Helped Lead the Devastation in Venezuela’ With ‘Bullying’
On the other hand, Maduro stole his January election, according to international observers. Having driven his country to ruin with corrupt, authoritarian, and socialist rule, he had just violently put down a popular anti-government uprising. His main international backer is Russia.
However, when National Review’s Washington correspondent, John McCormack, pressed Ocasio-Cortez to comment on the situation, she offered only: “Violence is horrible.” As far as whether she agrees that Maduro’s government is illegitimate, the freshman congresswoman said that she would “defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this.”
For the record, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tweeted Tuesday that “Maduro needs to acknowledge the will of the Venezuelan people, whose moving calls for democracy have been heard around the world.”
Deference to authority is not the norm for Ocasio-Cortez, aka “The Boss,” who has risen to political stardom by going to Twitter-war over causes well to the left of her party’s mainstream. But she does have a track record of taking Maduro’s side over that of his opponents, including the United States.
At a press conference in March, Ocasio-Cortez declined another invitation to denounce Maduro. Instead, she warned against intervention in the country by President Donald Trump, whose administration has strongly backed Guaidó.
WATCH: Ocasio-Cortez Asked to Denounce Maduro – Denounces Trump Instead:
Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only member of the Democratic Party’s left flank who has been tight-lipped about democracy in Venezuela. As the uprising was playing out on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a Democratic presidential candidate, made due with a tweet opining that the United States has for “far too long” favored “militarism over diplomacy.”
For far too long, the United States has basically had a one-party foreign policy that favors militarism over diplomacy. Thanks to the hard work of many progressives, working on Yemen and other issues, that is finally changing. https://t.co/yw9xSYdXjq
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 30, 2019
Meanwhile, a few of Sanders’ comrades in Congress joined left-wing commentators in suggesting Venezuela’s woes were the fault of the United States, even though the country’s economy had already shrunk by half under Maduro before Trump even began imposing sanctions.
On Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., went on TV and said that American policies “kind of helped lead” to “the devastation in Venezuela.”
“This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States,” she told “Democracy Now.”
In January, when the United States recognized National Assembly president Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela, Omar tweeted her support for Maduro, saying that “the legislature cannot seize power from the President.”
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