New Left Slogan? “Hey, Let’s Turn America Into Venezuela”

When you see Bernie Sanders, remember Venezuela. When you see Elizabeth Warren, think Caracas. When you see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, think of the plight of those poor people fleeing Venezuela by the hundreds of thousands—just so they can eat.

That may seem a little harsh. But the fact is that Venezuela went from one of the most prosperous countries south of the border, to being a complete basket-case because of socialistic policies. And American leaders should learn from Venezuela and tone down the pro-socialism rhetoric.

Despite the realities of daily life in Caracas, precisely because of socialism, a new survey just released found that among Democrats, socialism is to be preferred over capitalism. The new report by Frank Newport issued by Gallup Polls (8/13/18) declares that Democrats are more positive about socialism (57 percent) than they are capitalism (47 percent).

Perhaps more disturbing is that many young people also state they prefer socialism to capitalism—but, as Dr. Frank Wright, head of D. James Kennedy Ministries, points out, these same people will glance down at their I-phones and Androids and other marvels of technology that capitalism produced. Newport notes: “Americans aged 18 to 29 are as positive about socialism (51%) as they are about capitalism (45%)…a marked shift since 2010, when 68% viewed [capitalism] positively.”

This is astounding. Capitalism is a proven winner. Socialism is a proven failure. We don’t have to look to other hemispheres to see that. We have seen it in Cuba for five decades. Now we see that nightmare relived in Venezuela. (8/14/18) reports that, according to the U.N., 2.3 million people have fled Venezuela simply so they can find food. Furthermore, it is becoming less safe medically: “Diseases that had been eradicated such as measles, malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria have reappeared and are on the rise.” What a human tragedy.

Music minister John Moore lived in Venezuela performing in one of that nation’s symphony orchestras in the early 1980s. This was during the days of prosperity, long before the days of socialism. He told me: “There’s just no sadder or more visible testimony of the ravages of socialism than what has happened to the country of Venezuela in the past 10 or 15 years.”

He added, “When I was there, the oil companies were still being run by the Venezuelan government with the assistance of American oil companies; and so oil production flowed. People lived in a government that had been stable for 120 years. The currency, the bolivar, was 4.3 to the dollar for over 25 years.”

But then came the siren song of socialism, and tragically many of the people fell for the communistic rhetoric of Hugo Chavez who turned that country to socialism.

Today the bolivar is not even remotely close to 4.3 for one U.S. dollar. Venezuela is now experiencing one million percent inflation—that’s the worst inflation in the world. And since 2012, the currency has lost 99% of its value. Last year, the inflation was up 2,600%. Everywhere, there are long lines for food and necessities.

As of this writing, the UK Guardian reports that it costs 14 million Venezuelan bolivars to buy a single chicken.

Moore says of Hugo Chavez, the dedicated communist who turned Venezuela in the wrong direction: “In his desire to equalize the society…[he] didn’t attack the super-rich, he attacked the middle class. He took their money.” And the result? “Just complete economic ruin.”

The average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds last year because of food shortages.

All the promises of socialism in Venezuela have turned out to be lies—bringing destitution, suffering to most of the population, and death to some—and increasing power to those in control. Up until his death, strongman Chavez insisted that socialism was not only democratic, but also Christian. There is nothing Christian about encouraging covetousness of your neighbor’s goods and then stealing them (even through government intermediaries). Ironically, it was reported several years ago that among the richest people in Venezuela is the daughter of Hugo Chavez.

The suffering in Venezuela illustrates how the socialistic promises of free stuff for everyone means that the resources have to be taken by the authoritarian hand of the state. At the end of the day, it simply doesn’t work. It never works. It never has. How can people keep falling for the socialist rhetoric?

Recently, I interviewed John Tamny of FreedomWorks on the radio about Venezuela and economics. He said of the Democrats who tout socialism: “If they actually had to live under socialism, they would hate it.” And he added, “Only in economics textbooks do we consume our way to prosperity.”

I hope that run-of-the-mill Democrats will wake up to the realities of how bad socialism is for everybody (except for the small elite who run the economy) before it’s too late.

1 thought on “New Left Slogan? “Hey, Let’s Turn America Into Venezuela”

  1. Dear Jerry Newcombe:

    Ever notice how articles portraying abysmal and/or appalling national conditions are published in advance of US led drives for regime change? And on more than a few occasions, professing Christian evangelicals write those articles.

    This time last year, Donald Trump met with former Exxon/Mobil head then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose predecessor company long dominated Venezuela’s oil production. Trump said this:

    ’ We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering. They’re dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option, if necessary … military option is certainly something that we could pursue.’

    In January of this year, Tillerson presented his key objective for the region as ‘integrating the wealth of energy resources within the hemisphere.’ He suggested that the Venezuelan military execute the US preferred policy through a ‘peaceful transition’ to oust Maduro. He also disclosed in January that Washington was considering direct sanctions on 95% of its exports – i.e., oil. Mind, the US had sanctions on various Venezuelans already, including President Maduro. And the US barred US businesses and individuals from conducting transactions with the state oil company, PDVSA. It also blocked CITGO, PDVSA’s subsidiary company, from sending dividends to PDVSA. So much for de-regulated markets!

    By February, Venezuelan authorities already were issuing warnings that the US and its fascistic right-wing allies in Latin America were preparing an invasion to overthrow Maduro’s government. Columbia and Brazil increased deployments on their border with Venezuela. Migrants are already fleeing the anticipated violence. Early this year, Columbia said that half a million Venezuelans entered their nation. Brazil claimed that Venezuelans have augmented the population of its northernmost border state of Roraima by 12%.

    Soon, Sen. Marco Rubio [R—FL] began calling for action. By late June, US VP Mike Pence made a Latin American tour to support Washington’s bid to isolate Venezuela politically and economically in preparation for regime change. By July, Trump was pressing aids and Latin American leaders for an invasion. This showed that his rhetoric in August ’17 was not a camera event; that expressed his thinking. He made reference to the invasions of Grenada [1983] and Panama [1989-1990]. And AP quoted Columbian news outlets saying that Trump discussed an invasion with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Washington’s closest ally in the region.

    Venezuela depends heavily on oil exports for the import of critical goods, especially medicines and food. In the past 5 years, these fell by 93%. This reflects long standing US policy objectives for the region. US sanctions against Venezuela began under the Obama administration. These are being intensified and conditions are put in place for regime change.

    Washington’s increasingly punishing sanctions intend maximum turmoil as a prelude for regime change. This includes a ban on Venezuela’s borrowing or selling assets in the US fiscal system, prohibiting Venezuela from restructuring its $60 billion debt. US government strategists trust that increasingly intolerable social conditions will trigger yet another Latin American military coup resulting in a Venezuela more pliant to US corporate and military interests. The US is more than ready to use food and medicinal supplies to that end, which is only one of America’s crimes of war against humanity.

    Capitalism is indeed a winner. Nowhere is Capitalism’s success more evident than in the desolation of communities and in sociocide – the destruction of whole societies. It is evident in the destruction of the job market, of wages, of health care, basic public services, education and the environment. It is seen in homelessness, the opioid epidemic, the epidemic of murder by police, the infrastructure crisis, lead and water issues, declining life expectancy and rising infant mortality. It is seen in the degradation of work places to slave markets and in the growing resolve of the working class to strike. It is seen in the explosion in domestic surveillance, the militarization of police, in censorship under the false flag of squelching divisive information and more. It is seen in our perpetual continual wars, and our US war crimes against many societies. It is seen in the fascistic narrative that the ruling class is the legitimate expression of working class interests.

    All these and more show capitalism winning exactly as intended – by privatizing profit and socializing suffering.

    Pseudo-left bourgeois nationalism does bear responsibility for the Venezuelan disaster. And Maduro is trying to stave off economic collapse by placing the burden entirely on working class Venezuelans no less than the US ruling class made the US working class bear the full brunt of the US fiscal crash of 2008. See the difference?

    Yet offered by a willing mouthpiece of the US fiscal oligarchy which stands to profit most from Venezuela’s crisis, your criticisms display pure, distilled hypocrisy. I am appalled but not surprised by the ease with which the article bypasses the US role in creating Venezuela’s maelstrom only to blame what is falsely called ‘socialism’ for it. But then, you believe that an economy run by a small elite defines socialism rather than capitalism. Venezuela’s deformed [state-run] capitalism is all the failure that the right claims it to be. But this in no wise addresses a genuinely socialist program.

    As a self-confessed socialist, I wish that Capitalism was half as good at acknowledging its role as a world scourge as it is at blaming others for its ravages. As a Christian, I struggle with your article because it tends to force a choice between the author being incompetent or dishonest. Next time, please attempt to face the role of US machinations in other countries rather than declaring by fiat that this is socialism.

    Note from JN: Venezuela’s problems began long before Trump became the president.

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