NP View: He’s shooting starving Venezuelans, yet somehow Canadian socialists still support Maduro

The disturbing and tense situation playing out on Venezuela’s land borders with Brazil and Colombia turned deadly on Friday. The impoverished country’s neighbours have been permitting international flights to bring huge quantities of aid supplies into the region — aid that is desperately needed by the people of Venezuela. With their economy destroyed by socialism and mismanagement, even essential foods and medicines have become scarce. International relief, some of it flown on United States Air Force transport planes, has been arriving in Colombia and Brazil for weeks, enough to provide basic necessities and food to thousands of Venezuelans.

And Nicolás Maduro, the authoritarian Venezuelan leader no longer recognized as president by Canada and many of its allies, is refusing to let it in.

Not that anyone should be surprised. The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has been escalating for years, while the government was busy further tightening its hold on power (with Maduro and his cronies not likely having to miss many meals themselves). Now that the country’s economy has collapsed, and with international aid sitting in warehouses along the border, it’s entirely in keeping with the regime’s lack of concern for its people that it would rather close the borders — in some cases by literally blocking bridges with impassable barriers — than admit there’s a problem and let the food in for people who desperately need it.

Venezuelan national guard members remain at the blocked Tienditas bridge in Urena, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia, on February 20, 2019. JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images

There have been growing protests near the border, and some reports of Venezuelans sneaking across to try reaching the aid. On Friday, Venezuelan soldiers opened fire on protestors along the country’s border with Brazil, killing at least one person and injuring at least a dozen. This is not the first time the military has killed its own people to preserve Maduro’s corrupt grip on power; it may not be the last. But it still marks a new low for the Bolivarian Revolution begun by Maduro’s thuggish mentor, Hugo Chavez. A mere twenty-one years after Chavez unleashed his grotesque experiment, soldiers are gunning down their countrymen for daring to object to their own government denying them badly needed emergency food and medicine  — aid rushed in by other countries and sitting in warehouses just over the border.

Too many on the Canadian left have spent the last two decades defending their fellow socialists Chavez and Maduro as they gradually and ruthlessly destroyed what was once a prosperous, healthy nation. This is yet another opportunity, after many others, for Canada’s union leaders and the NDP to reconsider their support for the cruel Maduro regime, and add their voices to those calling for Venezuela to be not only freed, but fed.

But they won’t.




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