“Dead silence from AOC and other socialists about Venezuela.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has been conspicuously silent as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seeks to violently put down a popular uprising against his socialist government.
The freshman congresswoman catapulted to progressive political stardom largely on the strength of her Twitter activism in the name of social justice. She did not immediately respond to Pluralist’s request for comment about why she has not spoken out regarding the bloodshed in Venezuela.
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But conservative commentators, including provocateur Dinesh D’Souza, suggested her left-wing bias was showing.
Dead silence from @AOC and other socialists about Venezuela. What! No lectures about how they need to start recycling? No praise for the gun confiscation policy of the Maduro regime? No calls to crush the bourgeois counterrevolutionaries in the street?
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) April 30, 2019
It wouldn’t be the first time that Ocasio-Cortez’s political ideology has seemed to shape her response to tragedy abroad.
Since joining Congress in January, she has repeatedly advocated for the Palestinians, whom she has characterized as disadvantaged in the same way as African-Americans. This month, she defended criticism of the U.S.-Israel relationship by her friend and colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., which was widely seen as anti-Semitic, and said cutting U.S. aid to the Jewish state was “on the table.”
In contrast with her silence on Venezuela, after a white supremacist last month massacred Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Ocasio-Cortez went on a Twitter tirade linking the massacre to American white supremacy, President Donald Trump, and the National Rifle Association.
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However, she said also nothing after Islamic terrorists killed tourists and Christian worshippers on Easter in Sri Lanka. This Sunday, she rejected criticism of her disparate responses, saying that she had been “away from technology” during the attack. That despite having found time the day after the bombings to promote a forthcoming Netflix documentary about her.
In general, Ocasio-Cortez has evinced an outlook on international affairs that is distrustful of U.S. power and sympathetic toward left-wing nationalism.
Asked about Venezuela at a press conference last month, she declined to denounce Maduro, saying the country’s crisis was a “complex issue.” Instead, she spoke out against U.S. imperialism, and expressed concern that the Trump administration would get involved in Venezuela – never mind its relatively isolationist record.
“I am generally opposed to U.S. interventionism as a principle, but particularly under this administration and under his leadership,” she said. “I think it’s a profound mistake.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s stated worldview has generally aligned with the editorial vision of The Intercept, a left-wing publication with which she has often collaborated. In one of many such examples, the outlet in February published an article by Mark Weisbrot that defended the Maduro regime and blamed most of the countries’ woes on the Trump administration’s sanctions against the country.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, who is a frontrunner in the Democratic presidential race, has expressed similar views. During his failed 2016 presidential campaign, he defended comments he made in the 1980s praising the Soviet Union, Communist Cuba, and socialist Nicaragua.
In his 2020 campaign, Sanders has stepped up his criticism of Israel and called for an “evenhanded” approach to the Palestinian issue. Earlier this month, he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government racist.
As Maduro continued to crush opposition to his failed government on Tuesday, Sanders tweeted that the United States has for “far too long” favored “militarism over diplomacy.” He linked to an article in The Nation that celebrates the challenge he, Ocasio-Cortez and other leftists have posed to the Washington foreign policy establishment, including when it comes to Venezuela.
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
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