Patient wearing health mask lying on bed in hospital (© Rodrigo Abd/AP Images)
A patient in Vargas public hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. (© Rodrigo Abd/AP Images)

We’ve already described how Nicolás Maduro used Venezuela’s hunger crisis to force voters to support him in recent elections.

Dangling food in front of hungry Venezuelans in exchange for votes was not the only coercion Maduro used to ensure he held power in a sham election. The regime also compelled doctors to withhold treatment and medications from patients unless they supported Maduro, a recent New York Times story revealed.

Hand holding box of ballots with another hand holding ballot above it (© Carlos Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)
Officials count votes on election day in Venezuela on May 20, 2018. (© Carlos Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)

Doctors from Cuba’s international medical corps deployed to Venezuela reported that the former Maduro regime used their services to secure votes for the ruling Socialist Party. This included going door to door in poor neighborhoods and telling residents they would lose their medical services if they did not vote for Maduro and the candidates who supported him.

At a time when 75 percent of hospitals lacked the basic medicines available in functioning hospitals and outbreaks of infectious diseases such as diphtheria were taking place, Maduro was buying votes with medicine.

“The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, and freedom has the momentum,” said U.S. Vice President Pence. “Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power, and Nicolás Maduro must go.”