Opinion

KERNS: Rubio Is Right — The 21st Century Is No Place for Dictators

Jen Kerns Contributor

After a weekend of unrest, U.S. leaders are engaging in a multilateral approach to deliver aid to the people of Venezuela as President Nicolas Maduro continues to race against the clock to maintain power.

On Monday, the U.S. ramped up pressure with a fresh round of sanctions to help the Venezuelan people and to recognize the man senior officials in the U.S. are now calling the interim president, Juan Guaido.

Sen. Marco Rubio took to Twitter, at times in Spanish, exposing the Maduro regime for allegedly killing at least one truck driver carrying supplies as well as other citizens. Rubio also shared a graphic image of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, his head bloodied, as an apparent warning of what happens to totalitarian leaders who mistreat their people and perhaps more importantly, cross swords with the United States of America. The image was taken from graphic video of Gaddafi’s final moments after being beaten, sodomized by a sword and then shot despite pleading for his life.

While some might view Rubio’s posts as graphic and perhaps a step too far toward the “nation-building” for which few Americans have tolerance in the post-George W. Bush world, Rubio is right: the 21st century is no place for dictators.

One doesn’t have to be a neoconservative to support intervention in Venezuela. Even the most skeptical non-interventionist can no longer ignore the human rights abuses that Maduro has committed — including starving one’s own people, physically blocking bridges so that aid is prohibited and physically beating back anyone who tries to break the blockade.

Unbelievably, even as the world watches Venezuela burn, Democratic candidates back in the United States continue to push a socialist agenda despite the Maduro regime serving as “exhibit a” for the many failures of socialism.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuelainitiated by former President Hugo Chavez in 2007, has been damaging the country since long before the latest crisis.

After its oil-dependent economy collapsed in 2014, Venezuela suffered. However, Maduro played a strong hand in exacerbating the suffering as he refused medicine and other aid shipments to the country, leaving his citizens withering on the vine.

Last fall, a health crisis swept through the country’s failing socialist healthcare system. Nearly 80 percent of hospitals had no water; nearly 13,000 doctors had fled the country; there was an 85 percent shortage of medicine; and a shortage of basic medical tests such as electrocardiograph (EKG) tests and in many hospitals, even a shortage of basic necessities such as soap.

A hunger crisis also struck. Food shortages arrived with the Chavista economic crisis and with Maduro subsequently refusing to accept aid, its citizens began to starve.

As of last fall, food supplies had dropped nearly 75 percent in socialist Venezuela, even though food prices skyrocketed more than 300 percent. As of this January, one in three Venezuelans were eating just one meal a day in order to ration their food supply.

With people literally starving, it makes one wonder why a young, socialist Bernie Sanders would have ever said that “lining up for food” is “a good thing.” Clearly, the events in Venezuela prove otherwise.

In fact, all of the various health, economic and humanitarian crises leave one wondering why anyone would choose socialism.

Even The New York Times recently admitted, “Yes, Venezuela is a Socialist Catastrophe.”

Whether the U.S. and the international community fully engage to save the people of Venezuela remains to be seen.

How anyone could think that socialism — which has killed 100 million people since its founding — is anything less than catastrophic also remains to be seen, and it is an urgent question that the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates will have to answer on the 2020 campaign trail.

Jen Kerns (@JenKernsUSA) served as spokeswoman for the California Republican Party; spokeswoman for California’s Proposition 8, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; and as a Fox News writer for the 2016 U.S. presidential debates.


 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.