As the successor to Lieutenant Colonel Lunatic, aka Hugo Chavez, you might think President Nicolas Maduro would present a more mentally balanced persona. Sadly for Venezuela, you would be wrong.

In the last few months, Maduro has transformed from a bloviating kleptocrat to a rabbit king, to a hyperinflation kool-aid drinker.

On Monday, Maduro announced that he is increasing Venezuela's minimum wage by 40 percent. But seeing as Venezuela's inflation rate already increased by at least 1,000 percent last year, Maduro's gambit is only likely to increase the already-catastrophic suffering of his people. Children are starving at record levels under his watch. Citizens spend hours each day lining up for basic goods they probably won't be able to get, and then they get shot. Medical facilities are barren and medicines can only be found on the black market.

Meanwhile, Maduro's cronies are living it up with exclusive parties and lavish feasts.

Sadly, some in the West continue to delude themselves about Venezuela's condition. The European Left in particular remain convinced that Maduro is the victim of some American scheme to deny his nation productivity by starving its citizens. While this says a great deal about the depth of anti-Americanism on the intellectual Left, it also illustrates their penchant for the most insidious of fake news.

Similarly, too few American liberals seem to care much about the stark contrast between suffering Venezuela and its thriving capitalist neighbor, Colombia.

Fortunately, however, at least one person does get what's going on here. That would be President Trump, who has led the world in confronting Maduro's despotism.

Much more must yet be done. The president should act urgently to tighten sanctions on those in Maduro's inner circle. At the same time, he should push for an oil export embargo that would deny the regime the lifeblood it needs to pay off its corrupted security forces.

Further steps will have to be taken before this beautiful land, with Earth's largest proven oil reserves, will be able to start feeding its own people.