Venezuela – Approaching the end of a road paved with socialistic ideals
It’s a story we Americans should all know, but few do. For example, do you know Cuban bureaucrats run practically all Venezuelan government departments?
Financial Times reports, “The enormous influence that Cuba has gained in Venezuela is one of the most underreported geopolitical developments of recent times. It is also one of the most improbable. Venezuela is nine times bigger than Cuba, three times more populous, and its economy four times larger. The country boasts the world’s largest oil reserves. Yet critical functions of the Venezuelan state are either overseen or directly controlled by Cuban officials.” [April 2014]
Backing up a bit, let’s see how this became possible.
First, let’s consider Venezuelan natural resources: oil, Texas Tea, black gold. Venezuela has more oil than Saudi Arabia. But, while Saudis bask in rich luxuries, Venezuelans can’t pay their debts and are sliding deeper and still deeper into the abyss of national bankruptcy.
There has always been a great divide between the “haves” and the “have nots”, the well-to-do and the down-and-outers. Seeds of discontent eventually produced a garden of social ‘weeds’ that eventually took over the entire ‘garden’.
As in most of the Latin American countries with which I am familiar, those who do well tend to ignore those who do not. For example, when in Peru, I dress very casually: cutoff jeans, knit shirt and tennis shoes, mochila [backpack] to carry my stuff. As I pass well to do Peruvians, they ignore my friendly greetings and look beyond me with a thousand-mile stare as though I am invisible.
Venezuelans who found their ways to financial freedom failed to take impoverished fellow citizens along with them. I’m not talking socialism; I’m talking education, mutual respect and Christian outreach.
The great divide came to a head like an enormous ‘political pimple’ that popped in February 1999 when Hugo Chavez was elected president. His method preceded and possibly marked the trail for liberal progressivism applied by Barack Obama. Chavez couldn’t create law, but he had control of oil revenues out of the state owned PDVSA oil company and it was those revenues he used to construct his socialist utopian paradise. Funds that should have gone to PDVSA infrastructure maintenance were diverted to pay for Chavista ‘reforms’. Except, the country never really blossomed into a paradise. His utopian dream manifested in a dystopian nightmare.
Naturally, as with all socialist theoreticians, Hugo Chavez convinced himself it was the fault of the well to do Venezuelans, the USA and other demons that prevented his dream from coming true.
Chavez, still lacking constitutional authority to enact all he wished, began trading oil for communist bureaucrats and socialized medical care supplied by Cuba’s infamous Castro. Castro uses his well trained bureaucrats and his medical professionals as his “capital” in trade.
Little by little, day by day, Cuba came to totally run the entire country. In one case, a Venezuelan man’s business was expropriated by the government. The businessman went straight to the Cuban embassy to demand return of his business. When asked by a newsman why he went to the embassy, he explained how he was going right to the source.
A second socialist came to be mandatario after the death of Chavez and Maduro continued the failed and ridiculously unrealistic policies and practices of his predecessor. What’s the definition of insanity?
Now, Venezuela is on the verge of total economic collapse. Collapse of Venezuela would mean an inevitable collapse of Cuba’s communist dictatorship. But, Castro has an unexpected benefactor. Want to guess who he is? Are you getting ahead of me?
Darn! You knew all along. Didn’t you? You who guessed Barack Obama win the prize. Yes, the reason Obama was motivated to drop the economic embargo against Cuba was to preserve and protect the castrista communist government.
Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story.