This is a brief tale of two South American countries.
One of these two countries is Latin America’s sixth-most-populous country: Venezuela. With the world’s largest proven oil reserves surpassing the previous long term leader Saudi Arabia, today Venezuela is now an economic and social basket case.
The proven oil reserves in Venezuela totaled 297 billion barrels as of January 1, 2014, whereas Saudi Arabia’s reserves stood at 265 billion barrels according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner, consumer prices in Venezuela shot up an estimated annual rate of 275 percent in 2015 – the world’s highest. This year, that rate could more than double to 720 percent.
The other South American country is Peru, with proved oil reserves of only 1.097 billion barrels at the end of 2007 or just 0.08 % of the world’s reserves. Obviously nothing to brag about. However, despite this oil deficit, during the last ten years Peru’s economy had one of the highest growth rates in the world, averaging about 6% (compared to the USA’s measly 1%). This year, it is expected that Peru’s economy will grow about 4%, while inflation in Peru is only around 2.9%.
Why is there such a huge difference between these two countries?
The government in Venezuela has been run by socialist Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías from 1999 to 2013. He was also the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it mergedwith several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which he led until 2012. Since his death, Venezuela is being run by another socialist, Nicolás Maduro, who served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013.
Under the leadership of both of these socialist leaders and their socialist policies, Venezuela became the laughing stock of South America and a complete basket case. Businessmen and their wealth along with their production facilities left Venezuela in masses. Foreign or domestic investment became non-existent. In a country of plenty, shortages started to appear. The socialist government nationalized everything they could get their hands on and destroyed private businesses.
Six months after being elected, noticing how things were going from bad to worse, President Maduro chose to rule Venezuela by decree. He did this multiple times under the guise of “fighting corruption” and “fighting an economic war.” If this method of running a government sounds familiar to the readers, they do not have to look far. We have been experiencing the same wrong policies under the present administration in Washington.
Democracies can’t be run by decree. Only dictatorships do.
On the other hand, the democratically elected governments of Peru in the last decade or so took a different tact and chose a capitalist system to successfully improve their economy. As a result of this high rate of economic growth, the poverty rate has been effectively reduced in the country, downto 22% last year from almost 56% in 2005!
Why am I comparing these two countries?
It is extremely hard for me to believe that we now have two presidential candidates both promoting a socialist agenda for the future of our country, when examples of this failed system of governing is all around us.
It is even harder for me to believe that one of these candidates is actually promoting a communist agenda without naming it as such, and enjoying great success amongst the “educated” youth in our country.
Ultimately more terrible than all the above and almost impossible to believe is that approximately half of the voters in our country believe and support the agendas of either one or both of these two extremely dangerous and out-of-touch with reality candidates.
There are protests in the streets of Venezuela on a daily basis and groups are collecting signatures to have President Maduro impeached. It is entirely possible that by the time this article is printed, the situation in Venezuela will go from bad to worse to terrible! Citizens of this once proud country will not be able to take it any longer. It will be a regime change either by a military takeover or a bloody revolution by the people.
Since losing their monetary annual assistance from a failing communist Cuba they once enjoyed, and in the absence of any other socialist or communist countries jumping in to assist them, the regime will surely fall in Venezuela.One would pray that it would be a peaceful changing of the guard, but experience tells us that dictators do not walk away from the mess they have created and will fight until the bitter end. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya is a shining example of a dictator who did not give up until his own people cut his throat after filling his body with bullets.
Today in America, fat-cat Hollywood actors, dishonest politicians, socialist professors (who occupy almost every campus in the country) and sleazy members of the so-called “mainstream press” applaud and promote the candidacies of these two socialists running for President of the United States, while socialism is failing, and failing miserably, everywhere, particularly only a few hundred miles south of our great country.
I say shame on all of them for trying to fool the American electorate.
Dictators of Cuba, Fidel and Raul Castro take pride in calling themselves leaders of a communist country. After years of military adventures around the world, defying U.S. embargoes with a little help from their friends, lying to their own people, imprisoning and torturing the opposition, not allowing for any dissention, and imprisoning members of the press, Cuba ended up being a failed communist state, only to be recognized and propped up by the present administration in Washington.
All the European regimes which our two socialist candidates show as shining examples of socialist regimes have fallen. Even in Sweden, which happened to be the most visible exampleof Euro-socialism where universities were free, immigration was based on an “open door” policy and people’s daily lives were determined by the ruling party, socialism failed and failed miserably.
Example after example may be produced from around the world where socialism has failed and continues to fail; yet almost 50 percent of the electorate in the United States of America, home of capitalism and the government of the people, for the people and by the people, are under the illusion that this failed system would work here. Our colleges are turning out mostly wussy, brainwashed graduates who want “safe spaces” to protect them from free-thinking and “financial equity” without working.
These sorry souls may have never heard of what the great Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher said a number of years ago, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people›s money.”
Venezuela finally ran out of other people’s money. People are hungry, basic services are non-existent and Venezuelans have no future to look forward to.
It is a sad tale of two countries…
It is really hard for me to understand and absorb all this. I hope the readers of this column are much smarter and more educated than I am and they can explain all this to me. We all have once chance to avoid all this; choose wisely.
Tarik Ayasun is president of the Marco Island Charter Middle School Board of Directors and has given many years of community service to various organizations. Contact Tarik Ayasun at firstname.lastname@example.org.