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Yes, Venezuela Is a Socialist Catastrophe

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Yes, Venezuela Is a Socialist Catastrophe

In the age of A.O.C., the lesson must be learned again.

 

A defaced mural of President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Timesmerlin_149707989_cb0e2d8f-3d67-4cd1-8a54
A defaced mural of President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela.CreditCreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Conspicuous by its absence in much of the mainstream news coverage of Venezuela’s political crisis is the word “socialism.” Yes, every sensible observer agrees that Latin America’s once-richest country, sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, is an economic basket case, a humanitarian disaster, and a dictatorship whose demise cannot come soon enough.

But … socialist? Perish the thought.

Or so goes a line of argument that insists socialism’s good name shouldn’t be tarred by the results of experience. On Venezuela, what you’re likelier to read is that the crisis is the product of corruption, cronyism, populism, authoritarianism, resource-dependency, U.S. sanctions and trickery, even the residues of capitalism itself. Just don’t mention the S-word because, you know, it’s working really well in Denmark.

Curiously, that’s not how the Venezuelan regime’s admirers used to speak of “21st century socialism,” as it was dubbed by Hugo Chávez. The late Venezuelan president, said Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn, “showed us there is a different and a better way of doing things. It’s called socialism, it’s called social justice, and it’s something that Venezuela has made a big step toward.” Noam Chomsky was similarly enthusiastic when he praised Chávez in 2009. “What’s so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela,” the linguist said, is that “I can see how a better world is being created and can speak to the person who’s inspired it.”

 
 
Hugo Chávez in 2003. CreditJuan Barreto/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images25stephensNews-articleLarge.jpg?quality=
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Hugo Chávez in 2003. CreditJuan Barreto/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Nor were many of the Chávez’s admirers overly worried about his regime’s darker sides. Chomsky walked back some of his praise as Venezuela became more overtly dictatorial, but others on the left weren’t as squeamish. In a lengthy obituary in The Nation, New York University professor Greg Grandin opined, “the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chávez was authoritarian but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough.”

 
 

At least Grandin could implicitly concede that socialism ultimately requires coercion to achieve its political aims; otherwise, it’s human nature for people to find loopholes and workarounds to keep as much of their property as they can.

 

 

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That’s more than can be said for some of Chávez’s erstwhile defenders, who would prefer to forget just how closely Venezuela followed the orthodox socialist script. Government spending on social programs? Check: From 2000 to 2013, spending rose to 40 percent of G.D.P., from 28 percent. Raising the minimum wage? Check. Nicolás Maduro, the current president, raised it no fewer than six times last year (though it makes no difference in the face of hyperinflation). An economy based on co-ops, not corporations? Check again. As Naomi Klein wrote in her fawning 2007 book, “The Shock Doctrine,” “Chávez has made the co-ops a top political priority … By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 cooperatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers.”

And, lest we forget, all of this was done as Chávez won one election after another during the oil-boom years. Indeed, one of the chief selling points of Chavismo to its Western fans wasn’t just that it was an example of socialism, but of democratic socialism, too.

If the policy prescriptions were familiar, the consequences were predictable.

Government overspending created catastrophic deficits when oil prices plummeted. Worker co-ops wound up in the hands of incompetent and corrupt political cronies. The government responded to its budgetary problems by printing money, leading to inflation. Inflation led to price controls, leading to shortages. Shortages led to protests, leading to repression and the destruction of democracy. Thence to widespread starvation, critical medical shortages, an explosion in crime, and a refugee crisis to rival Syria’s.

 

All of this used to be obvious enough, but in the age of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez it has to be explained all over again. Why does socialism never work? Because, as Margaret Thatcher explained, “eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

What now? The Trump administration took exactly the right step in recognizing National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s constitutionally legitimate president. It can bolster his personal security by warning Venezuela’s generals that harm will come to them if harm comes to him. It can enhance his political standing by providing access to funds that can help him establish an alternative government and entice wavering figures in the Maduro camp to switch sides. It can put Venezuela on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and warn Cuba that it will be returned to the list if it continues to aid Caracas’s intelligence apparatus.

And it can help arrange legal immunity and a plane for Maduro, his family, and other leading members of the regime if they will agree to resign now. Surely there’s a compound in Havana where that gang can live out their days without tyrannizing a nation.

In the meantime, the larger lesson of Venezuela’s catastrophe should be learned. Twenty years of socialism, cheered by Corbyn, Klein, Chomsky and Co., led to the ruin of a nation. They may not be much embarrassed, much less personally harmed, by what they helped do. It’s for the rest of us to take care that it never be done to us.

 
 
 

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DEmorats want the same thing here,Demorats are ignotant fools.

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YES, Venezuela was once the MOST prosperous nation in Central/south America... with the HIGHEST per capita income... THAT was when they were a Democracy.   After 20 years (or whatever it was) of Socialist rule, is is the HELL HOLE that we see today... with people STARVING, and the nation on the VERGE of civil war !!

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I am Governor Jerry Brown
My aura smells of evil clowns
Soon I will be President

Cortez power will soon go away
I will be fuhrer one day
I will command all of you
Your kids will meditate in school
Your kids will meditate in school

California Venezuela
California Venezuela
Venezuela California
Venezuela California

Zen faggots will control you 100%
You will blog for the master race
And always wear the angry b!tch face
Close your eyes, can't happen here

Big Bro' on the white horse is near
The hippies won't come back, you say
Mellow out or you will pay
Mellow out or you will pay

California Venezuela
California Venezuela
Venezuela California
Venezuela California

We're way beyond 1984
Knock, knock at your front door
It's the suede-denim secret police
They have come for your uncool niece

Come quietly to the camp
You'd look nice as a drawstring lamp
Don't you worry, it's only a shower
For your clothes, here's a pretty flower

Die on organic poison gas
Serpent's egg's already hatched
You will croak, you little clown
When you mess with President Brown
When you mess with President Brown

California Uber Alles
California Uber Alles
Uber Alles California
Uber Alles California

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ultraliberals are knocking Trump for wanting to help out there...they also want troops in Syria BUT not Iraq.

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7 hours ago, ConservativeVoice said:

YES, Venezuela was once the MOST prosperous nation in Central/south America... with the HIGHEST per capita income... THAT was when they were a Democracy.   After 20 years (or whatever it was) of Socialist rule, is is the HELL HOLE that we see today... with people STARVING, and the nation on the VERGE of civil war !!

 

Please be honest....US sanctions and medical supply blockades have played a HUGE ROLE>

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This is SWAMP style foreign policy..........

 

place brutal sanctions on a country (even medical supplies, YIKES!).......then blame the country, leader for failure.

 

The run a coup....then give the oil to Exxon.   lol.   Sad how US foreign policy has simply become the MUSCLE for CORPS. 

 

SWAMPIES IN FULL CONTROL OF US FOREIGN POLICY.   sad really

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14 minutes ago, Old Mack said:

ultraliberals are knocking Trump for wanting to help out there...they also want troops in Syria BUT not Iraq.

"help out", lol.  That was a good one Mack. 

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, CrimeaRiver said:

 

Im curious your political stance there in central Tejas?

I try not to get caught up in the identity politics that both arms (dems and repubs) of the corporate party use to distract and divide the sheople and look for the truth.  I do not consider myself attached to ANY political party or affiliation. Anything put out by the corporate owned and controlled media I look at with a certain amount of skepticism. And I know for a fact that what we are being told by the MSM about Venezuela is not the truthe.  The history of US imperialism for corporate benefit with Venezuela and other sovereign nations proves that the current narrative by the media is a LIE and that does NOT make me a socialist, only a realist

Edited by Buffalo
additional statement

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The main lesson to be learned from Venezuela is that dictatorships always leave the nation in economic ruin. The timing and details may change but the end result is always the same. 

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1 minute ago, impartialobserver said:

The main lesson to be learned from Venezuela is that dictatorships always leave the nation in economic ruin. The timing and details may change but the end result is always the same. 

Especially if they resist US imperialism.

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6 minutes ago, Buffalo said:

I try not to get caught up in the identity politics that both arms (dems and repubs) of the corporate party use to distract and divide the sheople and look for the truth.  I do not consider myself attached to ANY political party or affiliation. Anything put out by the corporate owned and controlled media I look at with a certain amount of skepticism. And I know for a fact that what we are being told by the MSM about Venezuela is not the truthe.  The history of US imperialism for corporate benefit with Venezuela and other sovereign nations proves that the current narrative by the media is a LIE and that does NOT make me a socialist, only a realist

 

I agree with you on Venezuela.  But to say you have no political barometer or general belief system is a bit disingenuous.  No disrespect intended.  My question was not meant to trap you or as a "GOTCHA".   I just have never seen anyone post from UNZ on here....a site that I truly respect.

 

I am an old school anti-interventionist conservative.  Of course there are exceptions on a case by case issue or policy. 

 

General I deeply distrust the US foreign policy apparatus....

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3 minutes ago, impartialobserver said:

The main lesson to be learned from Venezuela is that dictatorships always leave the nation in economic ruin. The timing and details may change but the end result is always the same. 

The main lesson for Venezuela is that over dependence on petroleum must be ended, no matter who leads the country. Hugo Chavez was fairly elected by a large majority of Venezuelans, but he did not do enough about over dependence on petroleum and ending corruption, which has been a feature of every government of every type Venezuela has ever had.

Pinochet did not leave Chile bankrupt., he was evil and corrupt, but Chile was not left in ruin when he left. Sukarno and Suharto did not leave not leave Indonesia bankrupt, nor did dictators in Taiwan and South Korea.

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11 minutes ago, impartialobserver said:

The main lesson to be learned from Venezuela is that dictatorships always leave the nation in economic ruin. The timing and details may change but the end result is always the same. 

lol.....how about US great ally Saudi Barbaria.  US is ok with dictators as long as they are PUPPET STATES. 

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4 minutes ago, guilluamezenz said:

if at first you dont succeedImage result for modern red china

It is pretty clear that the Chinese Communist dictators since Deng Shaoping have overseen the longest and greatest prosperity of any country anywhere in recent times.

No, I would not like to live in the PRC, but China has proven that dictatorships can be economically beneficial.

 

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US....will not tolerate dictators!!!!   Well, uhmmm, okay, unless you agree to be A PUPPET DICTATOR.

 

Lets sanction the FUKKK out of Saudi Barbaria....and see what happens.  nawwww, thatll never happen.

 

lol

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25 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

The main lesson for Venezuela is that over dependence on petroleum must be ended, no matter who leads the country. Hugo Chavez was fairly elected by a large majority of Venezuelans, but he did not do enough about over dependence on petroleum and ending corruption, which has been a feature of every government of every type Venezuela has ever had.

Pinochet did not leave Chile bankrupt., he was evil and corrupt, but Chile was not left in ruin when he left. Sukarno and Suharto did not leave not leave Indonesia bankrupt, nor did dictators in Taiwan and South Korea.

 

What about the corruption that has infected US politics, especially in the deep state? Chavez used Venezuela's oil revenues to build hospitals and apartments for the poor. The policies of Chavezused the country's oil wealth to fund the Bolivarian Missions, a; large set of social programs to benefit low income citizens. Venezuela's GINI coefficient, a measure of social inequality, plummeted by nearly 10 points, from 48.8 to 39.0. Chavez's mistake was not using some the oil revenues to diversify Venezuela's economy that was 95% reliant on its oil revenues. Of course not doing that made it easier for the US to destroy Venezuela's economy through oil price manipulations with the aid of Saudi Arabia.

 

I read and get my information from many sources other than the US corporate owned and controlled propaganda arm...er...media.

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4 minutes ago, Buffalo said:

 

What about the corruption that has infected US politics, especially in the deep state? Chavez used Venezuela's oil revenues to build hospitals and apartments for the poor. The policies of Chavezused the country's oil wealth to fund the Bolivarian Missions, a; large set of social programs to benefit low income citizens. Venezuela's GINI coefficient, a measure of social inequality, plummeted by nearly 10 points, from 48.8 to 39.0. Chavez's mistake was not using some the oil revenues to diversify Venezuela's economy that was 95% reliant on its oil revenues. Of course not doing that made it easier for the US to destroy Venezuela's economy through oil price manipulations with the aid of Saudi Arabia.

 

I read and get my information from many sources other than the US corporate owned and controlled propaganda arm...er...media.

I agree that Hugo Chavez did improve life for Venezuela's poor. The US and the Saudis certainly made things worse, so I agree about that as well.

The most difficult problem in Latin America (or really, anywhere) is how to get the urban poor out of the slums of the cities into a productive life as successful farmers.

Costa Rica has been more successful than anyone else.

Lazaro Cardenas  and some of Mexico's other PRI presidents had some success with the ejido program and the Conasupo canasta program, which helped the poor improve their diets.

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5 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

I agree that Hugo Chavez did improve life for Venezuela's poor. The US and the Saudis certainly made things worse, so I agree about that as well.

The most difficult problem in Latin America (or really, anywhere) is how to get the urban poor out of the slums of the cities into a productive life as successful farmers.

 

5 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:

I agree that Hugo Chavez did improve life for Venezuela's poor. The US and the Saudis certainly made things worse, so I agree about that as well.

The most difficult problem in Latin America (or really, anywhere) is how to get the urban poor out of the slums of the cities into a productive life as successful farmers.

Dim-0-craps want them all to come here...and vote dim-0-crap, of course...

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Just now, Buffalo said:

 

Dim-0-craps want them all to come here...and vote dim-0-crap, of course...

If all you can do is engage in imbecilic name calling, please go elsewhere. We already have far too many dimwitted ignorant trolls in this forum.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, XavierOnassis said:
8 minutes ago, Buffalo said:

 

Dim-0-craps want them all to come here...and vote dim-0-crap, of course...

If all you can do is engage in imbecilic name calling, please go elsewhere. We already have far too many dimwitted ignorant trolls in this forum.

And you are some one of significance that I should give a sh!t what a rat says because HE/SHE/IT doesn't like what I say?  What about my referring to the right arm of the corporate party as the repulsivses? Or do I really need YOUR approval? Because I don't need YOUR opinion?

Edited by Buffalo
Content

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1 minute ago, Buffalo said:

And you are some one of significance that I should give a sh!t what a rat says because HE/SHE/IT doesn't like what I say?  What about my referring to the right arm of the corporate party as the repulsivses? Or do I really need YOUR approval?

What you posted is childish gibberish, and if you had a brain, you would understand this.

Off to the Isles of Iggy with you, I have no use for your dimwitted quips.

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