Since at least the 1960s, Socialism and its younger sibling, Communism, have been the darlings of Leftists elitists, especially those on college campuses. When these Progressives see perceived inequities in capitalist countries, they often look to utopian solutions with Socialism being a primary fallback. The amount of time that this neo-religion has been promoted is remarkable given the failure of Socialism to create prosperity for countries and their citizens.
With the recent passing of Fidel Castro, Leftists have created eulogies that include the false narrative that Castro was a champion of his people. How ludicrous! The Cuban people continue driving cars built in the 1950s. In addition, the travels of the boat people have been in one direction only; out of Cuba and to the United States. There is no better barometer than when people vote with their feet.
Cuba is not the only country in the Western Hemisphere ruined by Socialist economic policies. Venezuela is a poster child for the disastrous economic and human consequences of centrally controlled economies. Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe recently published an article highlighting the current tragedy in Venezuela. As he points out, Venezuela had long been an economic success in South America, even before becoming an energy powerhouse. Then, in 1998 Hugo Chavez came to power with not only an anti-America bent, but a disdain for capitalism.
After nearly two decades of Socialist/Marxist policies that include wealth redistribution, price controls, currency controls, and nationalization of many industries, Venezuela is run by Chavez’s handpicked successor Nicolas Maduro, and is in total economic ruin. Jacoby lists some current problems including:
- Shortages of staples such as food, medicine, and electricity.
- High crime rates.
- Rising infant mortality rates with deaths of babies under one month old increasing 100 times between 2012 and 2015. The death rate for new mothers in hospitals has increased fivefold during that same period.
- For the last three years the Cato Institute has given Venezuela its number one ranking for its “misery index“.
As Venezuela declined into economic chaos, Progressives have not only been unapologetic, but continued promoting the illusion of Venezuelan social utopia. These self-righteous elitists include:
- Jimmy Carter – When Hugo Chavez died in 2013, former President Jimmy Carter complemented the dictator for “improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.”
- Oliver Stone – Known for creating fantasy-documentaries, in one concerning Chavez, Stone said: “the positive changes that have happened economically in all of South America” referring to Venezuela under Chavez.
- Salon – Elitist publication Solon in an article “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle,” David Sirota said of Chavez’s accomplishments: “racked up an economic record that . . . American president[s] could only dream of achieving.”
- The Guardian – This Left-tilting media giant wrote in 2009: “Three cheers for Chavez.” Its subtitle said: “Hugo Chávez’s 10 years in office have led to better healthcare and education for the majority of Venezuelans”.
These Leftists who previously praised Chavez now remain silent as the Venezuelan people suffer from the Socialist policies. How could these Progressives get it so wrong? It would be convenient to blame it on stupidity, but that is not the case. The philosophy of Socialism has morphed to a neo-religion for ultra-Liberals. Their zealotry has historical precedent.