People are dying left and right on the streets in Venezuela. No, not from disease or terrorism, but at the hands of the Venezuelan government. Just a few years ago Venezuela was known as the second wealthiest country in the World due to its massive oil supplies. The now deceased Hugo Chavez had led that nation deep into the socialist model that almost all on the Left held up as the utopian civilization that every nation needs to follow. Chavez died in 2013 and was succeeded by his very popular vice president, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro continued the policies of Chavez, including the horrendous graft and corruption of the Venezuelan government.
In a true Socialist society, the “perfect” model suggests that capitalism is done away with, and then the government takes over, it regulates, operates, and controls everything: government, education, economics, healthcare, and everything else. The problem with Socialism, however, is that someone has to be in charge. Usually that occurs when a dictator amasses enough power and authority to take control. That’s exactly what Hugo Chavez did.
The Chavez success in Venezuela came as a result of the oil rich nation’s treasure trove of liquid energy. It is true he spent a lot of money for impoverished Venezuelans and in a government controlled healthcare and education system. But under Chavez the Venezuelan nation was always a “top down” country controlled by that someone who was in charge of everything: Hugo Chavez. There will always be a “ruling class” in any Socialist nation who pander to the authoritarian in control who passes out favors and receives blind loyalty for each gift to those who share the “top” with the Big Guy. Socialism lasts only as long as there is enough money to keep the people at the bottom happy and working, while the people at the top gorge on the fruits of the money created on the backs of those laborers at the bottom. There’s never any middle class. True Socialism to be sustainable for any period of time must be built to keep top and bottom separate with no class in between. Chavez did it in brilliant fashion. His successor not so much. Maduro opened the floodgates of corruption and brought too many of his buddies into the gorging sessions. Venezuelans finally said, “Enough.” Their cries against Maduro became deafening when they could no longer find toilet paper to buy!
So people are rioting, Venezuelan police are killing, stores are empty, Venezuelans are all losing weight because of the lack of food, all public systems are virtually shut down. Life as has been known in Venezuela is gone. Maduro lost control of the government in 2015 elections. He then “stacked” the Supreme Court with judges he has in his pocket. He then began to systematically jail dissidents who publicly took on his dictatorial practices similar to those used by Chavez. As oil prices plummeted, Venezuelans began to suffer. And as it grows worse, so does the social unrest, violence, and pressure from Maduro. The United Nations and the U.S. have publicly spoken out against the Maduro regime and its practices as have many South American countries. But guess who has come out in support of Maduro: Russia!
While Putin weighs in with his support, many on the Left in the U.S. have ALSO weighed in with support of both Chavez and Maduro:
1. Sean Penn on Maduro’s ‘Proven Leadership’
After former President Hugo Chávez died in March 2013, the famous actor Sean Penn didn’t hesitate to voice his support for Chávez and Maduro, Chávez’s vice president. Penn, known for his Oscar-winning roles in “Mystic River” and “Milk,” declared after Chavez’s death that “Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of vice president Maduro,” according to The Guardian (UK). The actor extolled the late Chávez, releasing a statement saying “poor people around the world lost a champion.” Many Venezuelans has a far different opinion of the dictator, than Penn. After the strong man’s passing, the Miami Herald reported that throngs of Venezuelans who fled his regime danced and cheered, some declaring “Finally. We’re free,” or “We are celebrating freedom.”
2. Oliver Stone Accuses Protesters of ‘Desire to Kill’
Academy Award winning director Oliver Stone has also endorsed Venezuelan socialism, recently criticizing protests against Maduro’s regime. The Panam Post reported that Stone slammed the popular protests in Venezuela at a Feb. 15, Future of Freedom Foundation conference. Stone said “There seems to be a desire to reach out, to kill, to create disturbances in the street protests …” He even compared these protests to “the Republican Party here in the United States.” Stone supported Chávez repeatedly. When the Venezuelan president died, Stone called him “a great hero to the majority of his people.” He also released a film in 2009, “South of the Border,” which praised Chávez, while media outlets including the Christian Science Monitor, New York Times and Huffington Post criticized his film’s pro-Chávez bias.
3. Michael Moore Praises Chávez’s ‘Free Health & Education’
Liberal propagandist Michael Moore is another Academy Award-winning director who has gushed over Chávez’s socialist policies. Moore, known for his left-wing issue films including “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” joined the crowds of liberal admirers and praised Chavez’s economic policies following the Venezuelan president’s death, according to Hollywood Reporter. Moore tweeted “Hugo Chavez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all.” Moore met Chávez personally in 2009. According to Moore, in that meeting Chávez said he “was happy 2 finally meet someone Bush hated more than him.”
4. Danny Glover Calls Chávez ‘Social-Champion of Democracy’
Outspoken liberal Danny Glover of “Lethal Weapon” fame also praised Chávez after his passing. Glover told MSNBC website, “the Grio,” that he joined “millions of freedom-loving people around the world” in celebrating Chávez and called him “a social-champion of democracy, material development, and spiritual well-being.” Glover appeared in Venezuela in 2012 to support Chávez’s election, releasing a video of the two men “boxing playfully” and embracing “in an affectionate hug,” according to Fox News Latino. Glover was paid $18 million by the Venezuelan government to produce a movie showcasing all the good in the Chavez-Maduro government. The movie was never released. And apparently neither was the “good in the Chavez-Maduro government.”
The Bernie Sanders far-left leaning Socialists in the United States are now having to look for another socialist utopia to prop up for their anti-capitalist and free market attacks with those atrocities happening daily in Venezuela. Meanwhile the United States has branded Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, a “dictator” on a par with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and imposed sanctions on him following last week’s controversial vote on the the constitution. The international community rounded on Mr Maduro on Monday and condemned polling day violence in which up to 15 people were killed.
Senator Sanders, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore and Danny Glover need to find some other Socialist model to prop up for now….at least until Venezuela gets enough toilet paper to “take care of business.”