The crisis in Venezuela should weigh heavily on us all. This formerly thriving country has been ravaged by a socialist dictator who has slowly peeled away personal freedoms of his people and is increasingly using violence to suppress them.
Starvation, lack of medical care and government aggression against its own people is in plain sight in Venezuela. Yet, some would prefer to turn a blind eye.
Just 10 years ago, the late President Hugo Chavez offered actor Danny Glover millions of dollars to make a movie in Venezuela. And Nicolás Maduro Moros recently welcomed Glover back to Caracas to meet with other artists and intellectuals commemorating the death of former President Hugo Chavez.
The actor thanked the Venezuelan government, and lamented Venezuela’s recent challenges. He failed, however, to point out that it is indeed the Venezuelan government, namely Maduro himself, who has sunk the country into despair and chaos.
As the people of Venezuela have taken to the streets to fight for their freedoms and basic human needs, Danny Glover, former President Chavez’s celebrity buddy Sean Penn, and other left-leaning celebrities refuse to acknowledge their suffering and its cause.
In fact, socialist cheerleaders like Glover, Penn, and “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders have been strangely silent as the socialist government they once hailed has devolved into a brutal dictatorship.
For months now, before protests and riots escalated, about 93 percent of Venezuelans have been unable to afford sufficient food for their families. As a result, approximately 73 percent of them have lost significant weight and many have died of the complications of starvation, according to university studies and media reports.
Even the youngest of the Venezuelan people — infants — have had no access to medical supplies or medicines that they desperately need.
And yet, as protests for freedom increasingly meet with a dictator’s brutality, those on the left — particularly celebrities who once hailed Chavez and his successor — have turned a blind eye.
Indeed, much of the media has ignored the suffering in Venezuela at the hands of Maduro until violence erupted mid-April. Some have even resorted to branding the desperate attempts of the Venezuelan people to have their voices heard as protests against the $500,000 that their government donated to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Absurd!
Celebrities and media representatives are among the most powerful people in America. They chose to chum it up with an evil, socialist government and now remain silent while the world watches the country spiral into violence and suffering.
So what hope do the Venezuelan people have? It must come from outside. In the months leading up to the protests and government violence witnessed this week, some Venezuelan-Americans and their friends and families have rallied to give some help, some hope where they can.
Lissette Kron, a Venezuelan-American in North Carolina with family both in the U.S. and Venezuela, founded an organization called “Helping Venezuela.” It has sent donations to several Venezuelan families whose basic needs were casualties of the socialist regime. Where socialism has failed, freedom-loving Americans have stepped up.
For Lissette and Venezuelans all over the world, the turmoil in their country is utterly heartbreaking. And the willful ignorance of the media and celebrities in this country are a punch in the gut. May God have mercy on Venezuela.
Demi Dowdy is the communications coordinator at the Civitas Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she coordinates all media relations for the state’s leading conservative think tank.