For those that don’t know, I live in Venezuela and have lived here since 6 B.C. (Before Chavez). That’s a total of nearly 18 years. I tell you this so that you will know that I am qualified to talk about the President of Venezuela, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.
Chavez ( pronounced with the accent on the first syllable Cha´-vez ) has been leading this country, for nearly 12 years, at an ever accelerating pace toward what he calls 21st Century Socialism. He is an avowed Marxist and his model is Cuba; but a Cuba with the riches of state-owned oil.
Chavez has systematically destroyed all government institutions; the worst of which are the CNE (National Electoral Commission) and the TSJ (Supreme Court). He controls every institution with an iron fist The public education system is a joke and he is slowly destroying the private school and university system. He has been barbaric in his land reform programs causing the national production of agriculture to fall from meeting 70% of the country’s needs to 20%. The state ( Chavez believe he is the state) now controls 80% of all food production, importation and distribution in the country. he has expropriated several hundred private companies including all mineral and metal production, all petroleum related companies, several large supermarket chains, fertilizer companies, glass and ceramic companies, large shopping centers, and is now beginning to expropriated appartement buildings. As would be expected, every one of his programs has been a dismal failure. Most of the companies he has expropriated are now producing at 20 to 30 percent of capacity and many are now closed down. He closed down the biggest and oldest private television station and numerous radio stations because they were biased against his government He has nationalized about 40% of the banks and financial institutions. He, also, nationalized most of telecommunications in the country and that is still functioning reasonably well bu not as well as before. All of the country, with the exception of Caracas, suffers electrical outages five to ten times per week lasting from two hours to twelve hours at a time.
I’m probably telling you more than you want to know about what is going on in Venezuela so I’ll get to the point now.
If Chavez Only Knew… he could learn a lot about implementing socialism from the political class of the United States of America, specially from the liberals of that class.
Like all totalitarians, Chavez needs to have an enemy and Chavez’s enemy of choice has mostly been the United States.I can’t count the times I’ve heard Chavez, in his bombastic style, refer to the US as the Great Imperialist Nation and as the Savage Capitalist Nation. He refers to his opposition here as Oligarchs and as Piti-Yankees I always want to laugh but it’s too sad. If Chavez would take the time to learn what the real situations is in the US, he would be amazed at how socialist our country is today. Forgetting about Obamacare, he would envy our Medicare and Medicade programs as compared to his pathetic excuse of a national health care system. He would marvel at our unemployment compensation programs and our various welfare programs. Chavez would dearly love to have an indoctrinating public school system like ours. Most of all, I think Chavez would be shocked to learn that rather than expropriating companies, it is much more efficient and profitable to control them through regulatory controls and cronyism.
Chavez’s dream of making Venezuela another Cuba but with oil profits to give the poor a better life might have worked, at least for a while, except for two problems. First, Chavez and his inner circles are inept in the extreme. Second, the Chavistas ( followers of Chavez’s revolution ) have taken corruption to a whole new level compared to previous Venezuelan governments.
If the socialist trend in the US continues, we to will see galloping corruption. The two go hand in hand. Programs like the Food Safety Modernization Act, which it appears will become law very shortly, will create a bureaucracy that will be ripe for corruption.
I wish all liberal/progressive thinkers in America could spend time here, in Venezuela, and see what socialism will eventually lead to in the end. I know that a minority, the idealist zealots would think whats happening here is just fine. However, for the vast majority, I think they would quickly change their tune.