I have long been a critic of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his authoritarian predecessor President Hugo Chávez. Chávez remains an icon for many in the left in this country and around the world — despite his destruction of free speech and free press. Now Maduro has reached a new low after starving his country with moronic socialist policies of government controls and centralized powers. The international community has collected massive food donations for the starving populace but Maduro has stopped them at the border. He will not allow his people to eat unless the opposition recognized his internationally ridiculed National Constituent Assembly. He created the assembly to disband the constitutional legislative authority and assume authoritarian control over the government. Now he is turning to the ancient Roman tactic of offering bread to the masses in exchange for acquiescence for his disastrous rule.
With gangs roaming the street and people desperate for food, Maduro wants the opposition to trade freedom for food — an all-too-familiar trade off for authoritarian figures in history like Castro in Cuba (a hero for Maduro and Chavez).
Thus far, the opposition has wisely held firm against such extortion. In the meantime, the many enablers who defended the Chavez and Maduro regimes have largely gone silent as this government grinds a once prosperous nation into prehistoric times.