There’s a standoff (or perhaps a showdown) taking place on the border of Venezuela at the moment. It’s not 5,000 American troops (as hinted at by John Bolton) facing off with the Venezuelan army. It’s not even the army of Colombia, though their new President has been making noises along those lines and moving some of his troops. It’s a caravan of supply trucks with food and medical supplies intended for the starving people of Venezuela, but the supplies aren’t making it into the country. The reason? Dictator Nicolas Maduro won’t allow them to cross the border. (NPR)

Trucks full of food and medicine have arrived at the Venezuelan border, setting up a showdown between President Nicolás Maduro and U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

The aid convoy arrived at the Colombian border city of Cucuta, The Associated Press reports, but Maduro and the military have blocked the Tienditas bridge so the trucks cannot enter Venezuela.

“The United States is prepositioning relief items — including food, nutritional supplements, hygiene kits and medical supplies — in Colombia so they are available to reach those most in need in Venezuela, as soon as possible,” a U.S. official told The AP.

Cucuta is the only major bridge and highway crossing into Venezuela in that area and Maduro currently has the entire thing blocked off with tractor-trailers parked sideways across all lanes. So he’s not only holding up the aid convoy but all traffic into and out of his country.

The tyrant had a ready explanation for why he was doing this. He said that Venezuela “has never been nor are we a country of beggars.” That’s a prideful boast, but nobody is calling the Venezuelan people “beggars.” They’re hostages to a socialist tyrant who is using starvation and a paucity of medicine and other necessities as a tool to keep his people beaten down. Sick and starving citizens who are forbidden to own guns are much less of a threat to a tyrant than well-fed, healthy people with firearms.

What kind of a monster does this? Maduro knows that his people are dying, either from starvation and neglect or simply being murdered in the streets by his thugs. Meanwhile, the dictator lives high on the hog in his palatial compound and goes on foreign jaunts where he eats the finest steaks. This is a scene straight out of the days leading up to the French revolution. Let the people eat cake.

If the Venezuelan military doesn’t stand up to this madman soon, something more drastic may happen. Whether it’s a bloody rebellion in the streets (which would be disastrous for the people of Venezuela) or an external push from the Colombian army (a disaster of a different kind), this story doesn’t end well. There’s no guarantee that a military junta would turn over power peacefully, but it would likely be the method of removing the monster involving the least bloodshed.