As you may know, I follow Venezuelan news every day. As in everything else, the headlines follow trends, and the latest trend in Venezuelan news is “democratic socialism.”
Some of it has to do with Bernie Sanders, whose platform actively promotes the so-called “democratic socialism.”
According to Wikipedia,
Democratic socialism is a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, with democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system. The term “democratic socialism” is sometimes used synonymously with “socialism”; the adjective “democratic” is often added to distinguish it from the Marxist–Leninist brand of socialism, which is widely viewed as being non-democratic.
Which, in practical terms, means that communism is palatable if everybody votes for it so nobody has a right to complain. Your rights to private property and self-determination are done for either way, no matter what color lipstick that pig wears.
It’s like being a little pregnant.
Yesterday John Hinderaker posted on THE TRAGEDY OF DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM (emphasis added),
The Times does a good job of describing the disastrous state of health care in Venezuela–there is much more at the link–but never mentions the cause of the disaster, democratic socialism.
. . .
For a more perceptive analysis of Venezuela’s problems, see this excellent roundup by AEI’s Mark Perry. Among other headlines: “Hungry Venezuelans Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons as Food Runs Out.” That is what happens under Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism. Currently, inflation is running at stratospheric rates, and Venezuela can no longer afford to buy the paper needed to print more worthless currency.
The Washington Examiner explains how Venezuela is ‘democratic socialism’ in action, and concludes,
In recent years, polls have shown that younger Americans have become less wary of socialism. Many of them now “feel the Bern” in the current presidential elections. They were still children, or not even born yet, when the Berlin Wall fell. They have had few opportunities to see socialism in action because (for good reasons) there have been few new experiments with it in the time since.
They need to be told the full story of Venezuela, so that they can see how even a democratically elected socialist regime can bring a once-prosperous country to its knees. The unbending Maduro is giving them a unique chance to see it all play out in real time.
I hope they will listen. However, I am skeptical.
Almost ten years ago hundreds of emails and comments rained down abuse on me when I reported that Hugo Chávez declared himself a Marxist, because, after all, he was a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” and I could not understand the difference.
Here’s the thing: I was quoting Chávez’s own words to the National Assembly, (starting at 0:16 in the video)
“Como ya le dije, pues, y entonces dije, bueno, yo además de cristiano, yo no soy sólo cristiano, yo soy un revolucionario, ¡y también soy marxista!”
(My translation) “As I told him, then, I then said, well, in addition to being a Christian, I’m not only a Christian, I am a revolutionary, and I am also a Marxist!”
As for Venezuela’s failure, true Bernieskees will assert that Maduro failed to follow Hugo’s stellar policies, as a former friend insisted two years ago, and that’s why things went wrong.
And let’s not forget the ones who think thins are bad in Venezuela because their currency exchange system is a mess, and after all,
Venezuela isn’t quite as socialist as many people assume.
As I said, Venezuela’s just a little pregnant, in their eyes.
THE OAS IN THE NEWS:
The OAS has a new Secretary General, Luis Almagro, following former Marxist José Miguel Insulza‘s retirement last year. Almagro is taking a hard line on Venezuela:
OAS Head Blasts Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro. Former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro says leader verging on becoming ‘petty dictator’.
Mr. Almagro said he was considering applying the OAS’s Democratic Charter to Venezuela, as requested Monday by New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, and earlier by Venezuela’s opposition-led Congress.
As I explained last Saturday, were the OAS to declare that Venezuela had violated its Democratic Charter, the country could be expelled from the OAS [See OAS Democratic Charter], which would mean pariah status for the country that Hugo Chávez envisioned leading the Hemisphere.
Maduro called Almagro a CIA agent, and Almagro hit back,
Mr. Almagro accused Mr. Maduro and his allies of stealing public money and called on him to release “the people you hold prisoner for their ideas.” He also urged the Venezuelan president to stop subverting the opposition-run parliament.
“You will never be able to give back the lives of children who have died in hospitals because they did not have medicine, you will never be able to free your people from so much suffering, so much misery, so much distress and anxiety,” Mr. Almagro wrote.
The secretary general exhorted Maduro to allow the referendum to take place this year, arguing that “when politics are polarized the decision must go back to the people.” To continue resisting a vote, which Mr. Maduro seems determined to do, “would make you just another petty dictator, like so many this Hemisphere has had.”
Mr. Almagro is expected to convene a special session at the OAS to discuss the erosion of democracy in Venezuela. Adhering to democratic principles is a requirement for membership in the OAS, which was established in 1948.
Of course, Maduro could take the same attitude Evo Morales had when Evo declared himself a Marxist seven years ago,
(My translation:) “One can not understand that anyone would be expelled from the OAS for ideological reasons. I am a Marxist-Leninist, too, so what? Are they going to expel me?”
However, since Maduro no longer has money to buy himself the love of other heads of state as Hugo used to, the OAS decision may actually carry some weight. It certainly opens the door to other leaders to take on Maduro, not only at the OAS but also Mercosur and Unasur.