In Venezuela, self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó is failing to ignite a military revolution. As a result, 25 Venezuelan soldiers who side with him fled. They now seek asylum in the Brazilian Embassy in Caracas. Knowing that their lives are at risk for defecting, they had few options. After all, betraying Maduro can carry a life sentence.
Similar to former President Obama’s uncertainty to intervene in Libya, President Trump is hesitant to commit U.S. troops to Venezuela. This country, which has faced numerous economic crises, is now mired in a political conflict between a US-backed resistance and the government. There are calls for humanitarian actions to prevent the Venezuelan government from harming its people. Others cite the Monroe doctrine to push Russian and Chinese influence outside of Latin America. But the use of military action creates many unknown scenarios, making it challenging to predict what the outcome might be. It is better to use caution than take the risk.
It’s been more than three months since Juan Guaidó declared himself the Interim President of Venezuela. He has since tried to end Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship ruling the country with an iron fist. The Venezuelan interim president has been doing his best to ignite a revolution to bring back democracy and dignified life to citizens of his country. At first, he tried to peacefully remove Maduro and his crew from power. But since it didn’t work, he has recently resorted to more violent means.
By Ian Brzeski | United States
When referring to countries such as Venezuela, the Soviet Union, North Korea, and other countries that have experimented with socialism and ultimately failed, the same excuse of “that was not real socialism” is continuously uttered by those that advocate for socialist policies. While that excuse is technically correct, it is not in the way that most people would think. Yes, it is true that these countries ended up failing in a state where pure socialist thought is no longer in place. It did indeed go from “real socialism” straight to “not real socialism.” So, what happened?
What happened was the fact that merely maintaining a “real” socialist state is impossible. The constant pattern throughout the history of experimenting with socialism is that these countries do admittedly start with real socialism, but then everything turns sour. There is a simple reason for this, and that is because power corrupts. What socialism is doing is giving the government complete control over the private sector to have equality and prosperity for everybody.
Putting all economic thought which disproved the validity of socialist economic theory aside, let’s say that economically speaking socialism is able to flourish. Redistributed wealth, prosperity to all, a bustling economy, free healthcare for everybody, and everyone living happily ever after. All of this sounds too good to be true as if it were only possible in a dream.
In reality, it really is too good to be true because, inevitably, there is going to be some ruthless dictator who will end up becoming in charge. Think about it; the driving force behind socialist thought is that people are inherently corrupt and always seek to exploit and take advantage of others, so they need a government to regulate their actions to be able to ensure that no exploitation goes on and that there will be complete equality. The problem is that these very same people that socialism identifies as the problem are in charge of the government. There will always, and I mean always, be a corrupt, vicious, disgusting, and morally perplexed person who will end up becoming in charge of the government. Guarantee that an ethically sound Jesuslike figure would always be able to be in charge of the government, then maybe there would not be a constant and blatant hatred of government by libertarians and other limited government advocates.
Government rightfully gets a bad rep because it always seems that power hungry people are seeking to seize control. The government in itself is the definition of power which aims to monopolize violence and potentially other industries. Wouldn’t it seem that being in government is the ideal job for any person? People inherently want to be in power or have control. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the problem here is too much power will end up corrupting even the most thoughtful and generous person.
Regardless of the initial intentions of a person who seeks to be in charge, the power of holding office will unavoidably lead them to use their power towards personal gain. Examples of this include practically every single socialist leader who promised the betterment of their society. Equality, peace, and prosperity are always promised but always seem to fail in being delivered. Who knows if leaders such as Josef Stalin or Hugo Chavez had true, honest, and good intentions from the start and their influx into power ended up corrupting them or if they had these horrible aspirations from the beginning? That does not matter. What matters is that these people in charge ended up using their power to directly or indirectly commit awful atrocities towards their people through murder or starvation. There is a reason as to why all these socialist and communist leaders were wealthy while the rest of their country was poor and starving. The government will always end up acting in its self-interest and not in the interest of the people.
Bernie Sanders in 2011 praised how great Venezuela was doing as a socialist state and how the United States could learn from them. Now that the government is murdering and starving its citizens, he seems to discredit Venezuela and say that it is no longer real socialism. Yes while that may be technically true, he fails to realize that real socialism is impossible to maintain and will always end up turning into this “fake” socialist state for the reasons mentioned above.
Besides its economic faults and the fundamental immorality of socialism, corruption and flawed human nature are principal reasons as to why socialism will always end up failing. Socialism is quite popular among people because of what it promises to deliver. The only problem here is that the deliverance of these promises is quite impossible.
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Millions of Venezuelans escape a country destroyed by bad government and coercive collectivism.
The border of Colombia and Ecuador is full of Venezuelans who are doing their earnest to escape the clutches of a coercive regime in search of free markets and better opportunities. Common tourists, amongst the droves of Venezuelans, must wait hours and hours in a line that wraps around the immigration office here in Ipiales, Colombia. During peak days, it can take over 24 hours to cross the border between Colombia and Ecuador.
The border crossing’s elevation is 2898 m (9500 ft), which makes the experience a rather cold one as nighttime approaches. Individuals in line are able to stay warm with the help of vendors selling coffee, hot dogs, and empanadas.
Most South American countries have no choice but to allow free movement of these refugees due to treaties signed by UN member states. The strain of this situation hampers economic stability and the free flow of goods and services due to long lines at the border.
While in the line, one can also learn of the tragedies affecting the people of Venezuela and understand why they are leaving their beloved homeland. Men and women full of fond memories and past success, now crushed by coercive collectivism. Doctors, welders, and professionals of all sorts are throwing away their experience to land a job in a neighboring country, hoping to make the minimum wage of $300 per month in favorable countries such as Chile and Peru. Ecuador and Colombia are not desirable, and Brazil’s language barrier makes the destination unattainable.
To date, an estimated 4 million Venezuelans have left the country. Hyperinflation is the sole reason these people have left. “There is a lot of work, but there is no money.” The minimum wage is currently 2,000,000 Bolivars per month which equates to $3 USD per month. That is $36 per year. The price of a kilogram of beef in Venezuela is $3 dollars and the price of shampoo is also $3.
To make matters worse, the Venezuelan government instituted new currency controls on money entering the country through financial institutions. In order to send money to your family members stuck in Venezuela, you must have a bank account in both Venezuela and an outside country. One refugee believes this policy is “choking the people.”
The current administration’s new constitution would completely eliminate the ability to own private property. This market uncertainty makes investments impossible.
The people who are working to stay in the country are almost at the end of what seems to be the brink of collapse. Schools are functioning, but they have no food to feed their students. Most of the faculty members leave the schools in search of new opportunities. Revolutionaries like the violin playing patriot and Oscar Pérez have become heroes to Venezuelans trying to take back their country.
The Venezuelan regime is continuing to provide a box of food to each family in accordance with its collectivist agreement. This box is called CLAP and contains two packages of flour and rice along with powdered milk “if you are lucky.” The frequency of these food distributions is about once every 5 to 6 months according to a refugee waiting in the 24-hour line.
One wealthy Venezuelan had a stable career for over 15 years. He had a house, a car, and “a whole complete life.” He went on trips with his family inside and outside the country. Right now he is busy moving groups of Venezuelans to more favorable environments scattered throughout South America. He understands the attraction of collectivism and believes “the Venezuelans have to learn the lesson.”
A Colombian bus driver passes and asks, “are you going to Cúcuta?”, a town on the border of Venezuela and Colombia, 32 hours in the opposite direction from this particular crossing.
It is truly a sad state of affairs for the people of Venezuela who slowly lost their grip on freedom and their country. Experts believe it will take 30 years to bring this country back to its former self. Many Venezuelans will most likely never return to their homeland, which is but another civilization lost to socialism and coercive collectivism.