The United States government no longer recognizes Nicolás Maduro as the rightful ruler of Venezuela, and for good reason.
He’s held onto power for years through sham elections and bogus constitutional conventions and now lords over a starving country with an iron fist as hyperinflation and a lack of basic services cripple the nation.
Maduro’s position got a little more tenuous on Monday when opposition leader Juan Guaidó — recognized by the United States and most Western nations as the legitimate leader of the country — returned to Caracas after a support-seeking tour of South America.
According to the U.K. Guardian, while many expected him to be arrested on the spot because of a travel ban that had been placed on him by the Maduro regime, he was able to clear immigration without a hitch and was thronged by supporters outside the airport.
On the same night, it just so happened, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finally opened her district office in Jackson Heights, Queens. I say “finally” since, as WPIX-TV noted, she’s the last freshman New York representative to do so.
“Since the district and the community has not had a new community space for a very long time,” Ocasio-Corteztold the station “(w)e decided to scope out and renovate and build a new one from scratch.”
Not everything was cheery soundbites about community involvement and all that, however, particularly when a reporter asked her about the events going on in that paragon of democratic socialism, Venezuela.
All Ocasio-Cortez was asked to do was condemn Maduro, a bloodthirsty dictator who has no legitimate democratic right to remain in power and who’s now actually gotten to the sorry point where he’s closed the border with Brazil so as to not let humanitarian aid in.
She did not. Instead, she gave a cringe-worthy answer in which she used the word “absolutely” twice — but absolutely refused to condemn Maduro.
So, here are the takeaways from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s answer regarding Maduro.
First, this is absolutely a complex issue. Second, she’s “concerned with the humanitarian crisis that’s happening.” She wants a solution that “centers the democracy of Venezuelan people first.” (Whoever can parse that one and figure out some kind of deeper meaning there, if any, drop me a line.)
However, she’s not in favor of “U.S. interventionism.” She’s also opposed to Elliott Abrams being a special envoy to Venezuela because the diplomat pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra affair. (His crime was so serious he received a $50 fine, two years probation and 100 hours of community service; he was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush.)
Therefore, she’s really really opposed to interventionism in this case because it’s the Trump administration and, um, next question, please?
Nowhere in there, mind you, was any denunciation of Nicolás Maduro. In fact, she didn’t even mention his name once, but took time to specifically denounce Elliott Abrams because he was involved in Iran-Contra.
It’s not particularly difficult to denounce Maduro. It really isn’t. A sentence about Maduro being a bad guy and she could have given her whole spiel about U.S. interventionism and how Elliott Abrams is a horrible individual and nobody would have cared. Instead, her answer resembled something you could plausibly have heard on teleSUR.
One of the things I’ve heard from my democratic socialist friends (yes, I have them — I’m originally from New York City and went to a liberal arts school) is that it’s unfair to say that democratic socialism ends in dumpster fires like Venezuela. Instead, I’m always told I ought to think of Scandinavian countries as the endpoint.
Never mind that Nordic politicians have gone on the record saying the comparison is bunk. It’s difficult to give the new American socialists a pass on the Venezuela issue when one of their most visible members refuses to condemn the Machiavellian leader of a country in ruins because of its socialist leadership.
The issue may be complex, but the condemnation isn’t. Is the left still so starry-eyed over the promises of Chavismo that they’re willing to overlook where it’s taken the country where it started?
In her inept, rambling, pointless, deflecting answer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to condemn a dictator but went out of her way to attack an American diplomat.
If you ever needed a primer on the political values of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there you go.
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