Skip to comments.The tragedy of Venezuela
Posted on 04/17/2014 4:33:07 PM PDT by Kaslin
Where leftist dreams have all come true.
Barack Obama and the Democratic Party insist they are not really socialists, because in socialist countries the government controls all the means of production. My rejoinder to that would be that U.S. Democrats have a goal at all times of controlling as much of the economy as they can - definitely including the means of production (what do you think "climate change" is really all about?) - and if you want to examine what the result would be if all their policy goals were realized, I present to you, the wonderful but tragically troubled country of Venezuela.
In this morning's Wall Street Journal, opposition leader Henrique Capriles Rodonski really lays out both the causes and effects of the disaster that has sadly become Venezuela - the lawlessness, the shortages, the inflation, the overall sense of unrest - and leaves no doubt how Venezuela got where it is:
The protests are born from men and women, young and old, who have stood for hours in the hot sun, hoping to purchase basic goods that have disappeared from our shelves because of government corruption and incompetence. They arise from the patriotic spirit all Venezuelans share. The protesters are rightly outraged at a government that views the law with contempt, eradicating our political freedoms and constitutional rights.
We must speak out against it. Our nation's most pressing problems will not be solved without a candid evaluation of our predicament. Consider violent crime: There have been more than 200,000 homicides in Venezuela during the past 15 years, more than 90% of which have gone unpunished, according to the independent research institute the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence. There were more than 25,000 homicides in 2013 alone, and Venezuela now ranks among the world's murder capitals, an unenviable distinction.
Or take rampant inflation. Food prices have spiked 75% since Mr. Maduro took power last year. Consumers often live without simple goods such as milk, flour and even toilet paper. That's because purchasing power has waned thanks to government devaluation of our currency. The official exchange rate is roughly six Bolivares to one dollar, but in government-run currency auction houses the rate reaches eight times that, around 50 Bolivares to the dollar. Our foreign debt has grown fivefold in eight years, reaching almost $100 billion. All this in a country that sits atop some of the world's largest oil reserves.
Meantime, draconian government crackdowns on free expression have left citizens with few alternatives to public protest. The state controls most of the television channels and radio stations, where the opposition receives either a small amount of biased coverage or no coverage at all.
The socialist government, first under Hugo Chavez and now under Nicolas Maduro, has built its power on policies that emphasize currency manipulation, tight controls on industry, strong-arming small businesses and rewarding loyal politicians who engage in corruption as long as they toe the socialist line. Oh, and a massive expansion of government debt while lucrative energy resources are not converted into the wealth they should be generating for the nation. And don't forget manipulation of the news media to the benefit of the political establishment, even if it means using the power of the government to oppress the political opposition.
Sound familiar? The only difference between the Chavez/Maduro regime and the Obama regime is a matter of degree. The direction is exactly the same. And we're ready starting to find out that the result is largely the same too. Economic growth has been sluggish throughout Obama's entire presidency. Unemployment is still well above 6 percent, and that's good by Obama standards. Urban areas are imploding and violent crime is out of control. Government agencies are abusing their power to suppress political opposition. And energy resources are left in the ground, or not obtained in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, because leftist activists are more the government's priority than the economic well being of the people at large.
In the meantime, government leaders engage in populist nonsense to maintain the support of low-information voters.
Here's a crucial difference, though: Venezuela has opposition leaders like Henrique Capriles Rodonski who are willing to spend time in jail if that's what it takes to stand up to the government, and have already done so. Where are the opposition leaders in the United States who are willing to risk anything whatsoever to stand up to the Obama Administration? The Republicans who control the House of Representatives won't even use that power of the purse to stand up against Obama's profligate spending because that might get them criticized in the media.
I see another difference. In Venezuela, the people are taking to the streets because they are starting to understand they've been had. In America, the polls may show that Obama is unpopular, but that didn't stop more than 50 percent of the electorate from rewarding him with another four years in office when they had the chance to send him packing.
Ignorant voters usually get the government they deserve. In Venezuela, things had to get pretty bad before people started to wise up in mass numbers. I hate to think it needs to get that bad here, but after what the electorate pulled in 2012, I don't have a lot of confidence in them.
Sounds like abccbsnbcpbsmsnbc, etc.
Post of the day!
That’s bumper sticker and tee shirt material.
They had that bastard Chavez, they had him, they made the foolish mistake of not shooting him immediately and his loyalists took back control, sickening.
And now his LT Maduro is in power, fraudulently elected. It’s time for the people to storm his palace and burn it down.
That’s the lesson kids: when you stage a coup, kill the tyrants.