I address this posting to American millennials, the people who will soon hold the future of our nation in their hands.
Leading up to the 1998 Venezuelan elections, Venezuela enjoyed sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves. In contrast to the enormous value of Venezuela’s oil wealth, 42.8% of the people lived in poverty, according to venezuelanalysis.com, 26 March 2006.
In 2008, USA Today published an article written by Gustavo Coronel The Corruption of Democracy in Venezuela. I quote from this article republished by the Cato Institute:
Venezuela has been characterized by the persistent presence of political and financial corruption in public administration. In 1813 and, later, in 1824, national hero Simon Bolivar felt it necessary to issue decrees defining corruption as “the violation of the public interest.” He established the death penalty for “all public officers guilty of stealing 10 pesos or more,” including “those judges who disobey these decrees.” In 1875, the finance minister at that time confessed, “Venezuela does not know to whom it owes money and how much. Our books are 20 years behind.” One hundred years later, the General Comptroller under Pres. Luis Herrera would describe the state of the country’s finances in almost identical terms, as “a system totally out of control.”
One historian describes Simon Bolivar as a liberator who scorned liberalism, a soldier who disparaged militarism, and a republican who admired monarchy.
Statues of Bolivar can be found throughout South America. Leftist rulers like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez fete Bolivar as a champion of the poor, but such was not the case.
At first glance, the Bolivarian Revolution appears to mirror the American Revolution but there is a distinct and unmistakable difference between the two struggles for independence.
The American Revolution represented the interests of all British colonialists, rich and poor. Simon Bolivar’s revolution chiefly served the interests of the creoles. It is apparent he understood that a democratic government like that of the United States was impractical for most of Latin America, probably because he recognized that indigenous voters and descendants of African slaves had not the history or values to make a republic work. Bolivar leaned more to authoritarian government. (I hasten to point out the fact that indigenous people and slaves were also unable to vote in the U.S. at that time.)
The consequences of Bolivar’s ever-evolving vision of government can be seen in Venezuela and other Latin American countries today.
Over the many years since the end of the Bolivarian Revolution, the creoles (those of European ancestry) enjoyed prosperity and freedom. It was this upper class that ruled the country. The reader can understand how Bolivar’s preference for authoritarianism inherently divided the country.
Hugo Chávez, his successor Nicolás Maduro and their supporters, arose from the Venezuelan underclass, the poor. Both men are of Amerindian (indigenous) ancestry.
Initially, the radical conversion of Venezuelan governance from a republican government to full-blown socialism worked. Since the only money over which Chávez had discretionary power was the PDVSA revenue, he used the oil money to set up food stores and services for the poor of the country. He exchanged Venezuelan oil for Cuban aid in the form of Soviet-style government administrators and medical personnel.
Diversion of PDVSA funds from the care and feeding of the state-owned oil company to social programs led to the inevitable decline of oil income: production, transmission, and refinement of oil assets fell into a state of disrepair. Venezuela became a debtor nation where today, Christmas Day 2017, inflation is forecast to be an astronomical 2,687% in 2018.
Socialism works well until the government runs out of money.
What is Venezuela like today? The creoles continue to flee the country, many now living in Florida, others throughout the U.S. The poor remain behind. Women, including school teachers, mothers, and medical workers, have turned to prostitution to support their families. Caracas has become one of the most dangerous cities on the face of the earth. The poor are still poor. The grand promises of socialismo have utterly failed.
What hope is there for Venezuela? Jesus Christ is the only hope for all nations.
A recent poll of millennials reveals nearly half prefer socialism to capitalism. Socialism represents government control; capitalism represents freedom.
Choose wisely, millennials.
My prayer is for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all nations. There are no human policies that can save Venezuela or preserve our hard-won American freedoms. As it is written, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom“. Only Jesus saves.
Merry Christmas, America.