by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism.
People are now literally starving — about three-quarters of the population lost weight last year — in what once was the fourth-richest country in the world on a per capita basis. A country that has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia is suffering shortages of basic supplies. Venezuela now totters on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, in the national catastrophe known as the Bolivarian Revolution.
The phrase is the coinage of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, succeeded by the current Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro. The Western Hemisphere’s answer to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Maduro has instituted an ongoing self-coup to make his country a one-party state.
The Chávezistas have worked from the typical Communist playbook of romanticizing the masses while immiserating them. Runaway spending, price controls, nationalization of companies, corruption, and the end of the rule of law — it’s been a master class in how to destroy an economy.