Venezuela is imploding. Anyone paying attention to the economic disaster taking place in this socialist country could see this coming. As Americans, our concern should be for the increasing clamor of socialist Democrats who want to bring the same disaster to our country.
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says the democratically elected National Assembly President Juan Guaido took an oath to become Venezuela’s interim president last week, as prescribed by the country’s constitution. Within hours he was recognized by the U.S. and 20 other democracies, 11 in Latin America. Even the European Union has declared it will recognize Guaido as the rightful interim president if dictator Nicolas Maduro doesn’t agree to a new election by this weekend.
Maduro took over the presidency after the death of his socialist predecessor, dictator Hugo Chavez. Chavez introduced socialism into Venezuela in 1999, then stole, dominated, polarized and jailed anyone who disagreed. Despite the world’s largest oil reserves, the country has suffered economic collapse on an unprecedented scale.
I previously discussed this situation in an earlier post, A Tragic Lesson About Socialism. In that post six months ago the annualized rate of inflation was estimated by economist Steve Hanke at 112% in 2015, and 2,800% in 2017. For the first six months of 2018 it was rising at an annual rate of 65,000%! But the latest estimates by the International Monetary Fund now place that inflation rate at one million percent. That’s not an error – one million percent!
The response of the citizens of Venezuela has been predictable. O’Grady says, “Not since the fall of the Soviet empire has a nation risen with such fury and determination to throw off the yoke of socialism. And not since then has Marxist misery been so clear for all the world to see. Venezuelans are experiencing what millions of Russians, Chinese, Cubans and countless others have suffered. Destitute and angry, they want it to end.”
Which brings us back to our own country. This very same week California Senator Kamala Harris announced her candidacy for the president of the U.S. and declared her support for the socialist agenda that includes Medicare For All (socialized medicine) and free education for all including college. She also continues to oppose border security and limitations on immigration.
These socialist ideas were once considered ignorant and naïve when espoused by a little-known Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. But Sanders became a household name when he ran for president in 2016 and nearly beat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Today Sanders could be easily described as the “Father of American Socialism.”
Sanders’ influence has rubbed off not only on Harris but other Democratic presidential hopefuls such as Senators Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Perhaps no freshman Congresswoman has ever received more media attention than N.Y. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) who is a Sanders’ acolyte. Are these people blind to what is happening in Venezuela?
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”These are the words of Harvard professor George Santayana in 1905. Winston Churchill modified his words in a speech to the House of Commons in 1948 when he said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The tragic irony of our current situation is that these politicians don’t need to remember anything – they only need to be aware of what is happening in Venezuela as they speak!