By Jorge Fuentelsaz
New York City, US, Oct 27 (efe-epa).- Young United States congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) accused the government of turning its back on key communities on Tuesday as she distributed food to people affected by the COVID-19 crisis in the city’s Corona neighborhood, one of the most affected in the country.
As part of a campaign in the Park of the Americas, located in the heart of this working-class, immigrant and Latin American neighborhood, Ocasio-Cortez helped distribute 600 boxes of fresh vegetables, meat, eggs and yogurt to people who have lost their jobs or are struggling to feed their families.
One recipient was Miguel, an Ecuadorian who emigrated to the US 19 years ago and who works as a carpenter in a furniture store in which, due to the crisis unleashed by the pandemic, he said “there is almost no work.”
“I have five children and the salary I earn is not enough and the rent is very expensive… The economy has gone down and we are practically in poverty,” he told EFE alongside one of his daughters to whom the congresswoman handed a box prepared by the US Department of Agriculture.
While the distribution took place, at a table with electoral pamphlets for AOC, a passer-by stopped for a moment to tell the media in Spanish that “this is how it began in Venezuela – distributing food,” an accusation repeated by the Republican Party against Ocasio-Cortez and the leftist side of the Democratic Party, whom they accuse of wanting to turn the US into a new Venezuela.
In reference to these complaints, the congresswoman of Puerto Rican origin said that the delivery of aid was a response to the situation and the lack of support from the federal government.
“I think that right now we are in an unprecedented period and the problem is that the federal government has turned its back on key communities, especially the undocumented community, which was not even included in the first round of COVID relief,” AOC said, referring to unemployment assistance and the $1,200 check that was given to millions of workers to help ease the ravages of the crisis.
State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, who also participated in the campaign event, told EFE while handing out masks to people waiting their turn to pick up a box of food that it is “necessary (for these people) to exercise their voice. If they able to, that they vote. And if they are not able to (vote), that they speak with someone who is able to so that their vote does them credit.”
Cruz, of Colombian origin and who is practically guaranteed re-election on Nov. 3, showed her desire that the Democratic candidate Joe Biden, win the presidency.
“I hope we have a new president who truly treats people for their value, with dignity. If we come as immigrants it is to fight, to work. We are not trying to steal anything from anyone. All these people want is to work and this guy (Donald Trump) wants to brand us as rapists, as scroungers and as people who do not deserve a chance,” she told EFE.
Cruz, who has been distributing meals since Mar. 17 in collaboration with the NGO of the Spanish chef José Andrés, pointed out that Wednesday will be the last day of delivery due to lack of funds.
“We went from offering 350 meals a day to 2,000, with queues stretching up to 11 blocks,” said Cruz, who also accused the federal government of having forgotten those most in need.
Along with Cruz, Democratic Senator Jessica Ramos and State Assembly candidate Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the long queues in New York since Saturday, when eight polling stations were opened for early voting.
Given the large influx of voters registered in recent days, with more than 300,000 votes, the Election Commission of the state of New York decided on Tuesday to extend the opening and closing hours of polling stations this coming weekend.
For the congresswoman, who also is practically guaranteed to keep her seat in Congress, the presence of so many people waiting their turn to vote – despite the fact that New York is a Democratic stronghold and Biden’s victory is almost a given – shows they are responding to the mobilization favored by young candidates of the new Democratic left.
But most of all, “overwhelmingly this administration has posted such a deep and steep danger to our communities in so many different ways. Even from the confirmation of (Supreme Court nominee) Amy Coney Barrett last night and how that endangers women and anyone who wants reproductive control over their own bodies, to voting rights,” AOC stressed. EFE-EPA