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  • U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during the press conference before the town hall meeting in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 27, 2019.

    U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during the press conference before the town hall meeting in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 27, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 May 2019

There are growing concerns about the silence of AOC on foreign policy issues, despite her progressiveness in U.S. domestic affairs.

U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, said Wednesday she would follow the Democratic Party’s leadership in regards to Venezuela, declining to answer a question on whether she sees President Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate President of the Bolivarian Republic.


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Ocasio Cortez, sometimes referred to as AOC, was asked in an interview with the National Review if she sees President Maduro as legitimate, for which she replied, "I defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this." 

The leadership of the Democratic Party in U.S. Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have both officially recognized right-wing opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido, as "interim president" of Venezuela after he illegally self-declared as such back in January, offering a bipartisan consensus on Donald Trump's efforts for regime change. 

In contrast, her follow progressive congresswoman Ilhan Omar has repeatedly denounced the U.S. economic war on Venezuela and the U.S.-backed coup attempt.

Earlier in March When Omar was asked if she recognized Juan Guaido as President of Venezuela, she replied, “absolutely not.” Again this week. Ilhan Omar sent out tweets and made comments in interviews in which she rejected the latest failed coup attamept against President Maduro and slamming U.S. policy against Venezuela.

Presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, has also been very clear in opposing sanctions and war, on Saturday tweeting, “The new Cold War is getting hotter. We need leaders with foresight to see how in Venezuela, Syria & other places, potential military conflict btwn US-Russia can quickly escalate into war—nuclear war, the greatest danger we face today.”

Some argue that AOC has come under pressure from the Democratic leadership in an effort to silence her earlier objection to the Trump interventionist policies in Venezuela.

Back in March AOC was quoted as saying that she was "very concerned about U.S. interventionism in Venezuela, and I oppose it, especially when we talk about a figure like U.S. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams here. I think it’s – he's pled guilty to several crimes related to Iran-Contra.”

She went on to add that, “I am generally opposed to U.S. interventionism as a principle, but particularly under this administration and under his leadership I think it’s a profound mistake.”

Critics on the left also point to other instances in which her stances on foreign policy are far from clear. As a way of tribute to war hawk John McCain, Cortez wrote that he was “an unparalleled example of human decency and American service”.

On Palestine, she has also been largely silent, whilst other progressive congresswomen have spoken up. The editor of the right-wing Israeli outlet Hamodia, praised AOC saying; “She hasn’t made any similarly Israel-negative references, has strongly declared her affirmation of Israel’s legitimacy…”

Disclosure: The title of this article has been changed and more reporting was added to this article in order to clarify the comments made by the U.S. congresswoman and the context of her recent and past statements on the topic of the article. 

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