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Ocasio-Cortez Dodges Question on Whether She Denounces Nicolás Maduro

(INSET: Nicolás Maduro) NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 03: US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on stage during the 2019 Athena Film Festival closing night film, "Knock Down the House" at the Diana Center at Barnard College on March 3, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for The …
Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Athena Film Festival, Frederico Parra/AFP/Getty
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) dodged a reporter’s question Monday when asked if she denounces Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro amid the socialist country’s worsening humanitarian crisis.

Ocasio-Cortez took questions from the media during a press conference for the opening of her new office in Queens. Asked for her thoughts on Venezuela and the Maduro regime, the self-avowed democratic socialist acknowledged that a crisis was indeed occurring and called for any solution to be centered on the Venezuelan people — but expressed concern about potential U.S. intervention.

“I think that this is absolutely a complex issue,” Ocasio-Cortez began. “It’s important that we approach this very carefully. Myself, just like anyone else, is absolutely concerned with the humanitarian crisis that’s happening, and I think that any solution that we have centers the Venezuelan people and centers the democracy of Venezuelan people first.”

“I am very concerned about U.S. interventionism in Venezuela, and I oppose it,” she continued, before criticizing U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams’s handling of the issue and attacking his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. “He’s pleaded guilty to several crimes relating to Iran-Contra and I don’t think that we should be, you know, I am generally opposed to U.S. interventionism as a principal, but particularly under this administration and under his leadership I think it’s a profound mistake.”

Ocasio-Cortez is the latest Democrat to face questions regarding Venezuela’s deteriorating state of affairs. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has come under fire in recent weeks for refusing to refer to Maduro as a dictator. In a CNN town hall this month, Sanders defended the move, saying that while Venezuela’s latest election was not democratic, “there are still democratic operations taking place” in the country. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has criticized Sanders’ reluctance to call Maduro a dictator and accused the disputed Venezuelan president of running an  “absolute dictatorship and a narco traffic state.”

“Dictatorship is dictatorship — whether from the right or left. Dictatorship oppresses their people. I’m really surprised that Senator Sanders could not at least call him a dictator,” Menendez told CNN’s John Berman.

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