Venezuela and communist failure

Hany Ghoraba
Wednesday 8 Aug 2018

The communist policies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have slashed the country’s economy in half, creating the biggest economic meltdown in its history

The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia led by Lenin in October 1917 did not simply alter the face of the Russian nation.

It also affected the whole of the 20th century as the spread of communism and the teachings of German ideologue Karl Marx spread across the world from Russia to Eastern Europe and then Africa, the Middle East and South America.

This red storm promised equality, prosperity and justice to all nations. However, this was the one of the biggest lies ever told as communism, spreading across the world like wildfire, also spread poverty, war and dictatorship.

In 1991, the world witnessed the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the death of this ideology at its heart. However, alas, there are still countries held captive by it even today, and the latest victim is Venezuela.

Venezuela, led by communist President Nicolas Maduro, has shown the world once again how fast this ideology can destroy the economy and potential of a country from within.

Maduro appears to some as a time-traveller beamed into Venezuela from the 1950s. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, he has been adamant about continuing the communist modus operandi for the economic destruction of Venezuela.

At times, Maduro appears to be more like a character from a Marvel or DC comic book than a 21st-century president.

From his Venezuelan-themed attire to his speeches, he never fails to leave an eccentric impression, being one taken over wholesale from the communist leaders of the past. His antics would be relatively benign if they did not lead to the destruction of the Venezuelan economy.

Once the largest per capita economy in South America as a result of being one of the world’s biggest oil producers and the holder of the world’s largest proven oil reserves at 296 billion barrels in 2012, Venezuela is now witnessing an economic nightmare of unprecedented proportions.

Maduro, who took power after the death of his mentor Chavez in 2013, has expanded his communist economic plans and nationalised a significant portion of the country’s private sector, including supermarkets and pharmacies.

As a result, there has been a vast deterioration in services, and the local production of oil has plummeted. Oil is the country’s chief source of income, so this means shortages of supply, blackouts, and of course economic troubles.

The fuel subsidies given to Venezuelan citizens were unmatched in any other country in the world as the government distributed oil to its citizens at very cheap prices.

However, this was at a staggering cost to the Venezuelan economy, and it added to generally poor government economic policies and draconian ones such as the nationalisation of private-sector companies.

The end result of Maduro’s policies has been a projected shrinkage of the Venezuelan economy by 15 per cent this year alone, making it half the size it was in 2014.

In other words, in fewer than five years in power Maduro has slashed the Venezuelan economy in half, creating the biggest economic meltdown in the country’s history.

Inflation rates in Venezuela have been reaching astronomical figures, with market prices for commodities doubling every 18 days. This will eventually lead to a mind-blowing inflation rate of one million per cent by the end of 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It goes without saying that Maduro has followed the pattern of communist and socialist leaders around the world in blaming imperialist and colonialist Western countries for his country’s woes.

However, the leaders of the so-called “imperialist West” do not need to conspire against Venezuela as all they have to do is sit and watch Maduro sink his country’s economy through his own disastrous policies.

The country’s economic collapse has led to an exodus of its citizens to neighbouring countries. The poorer sectors of the nation have been migrating towards Brazil and Colombia, and the richer ones have been attempting to find a fresh start in the United States and Spain.

With the dire shortages of food and medicine and the rampant crime and unemployment and inflation rates now common in the country, over 1.6 million Venezuelans have left their country, creating the biggest migration problem in South America in recent memory.

Venezuelans who once enjoyed the highest standard of living in South America now resort to accepting menial jobs in their attempts to make a living.

The Venezuelans are the victims of their communist leaders who have sold them a dream of a country when in fact they were leading them to the gates of hell.

Their tyranny, corruption and obsolete ideology have turned Venezuelan lives into living nightmares, and they have now realised the futility of receiving cheap petrol for their vehicles as well as other subsidies when these policies lead to economic collapse.

Products must be sold at more than the cost of their production plus other premiums for them to be sustainable and continually available.

Communism in general did not simply fail because it was badly applied in the nations that adopted it. The pattern of its failure speaks for itself. It is a faulty ideology that contradicts human nature and the values of competition, self-improvement, and the freedom to travel and to express oneself, as well as to acquire possessions, that all people hold dear.

Ignoring these things, communism instead suppressed these human traits to enforce inhuman ones like servitude, the lack of ambition, and following leaders’ whims. The end result has been nations in ruins and economies in shambles.

Venezuela is simply the latest victim of this ideology that has spread like cancer by preaching false promises and delivering loss and despair.

Despite being at odds in terms of ideology, the Communists and the Islamists ironically share a common trait, which is their belief that their doctrines, when applied, will bring justice and even heaven to people on earth.

However, experience has shown that their shoddy theories have in fact brought nothing but pain, death and destruction to all the nations that have applied them.

Even so they keep on applying them where they can on the pretext that their theories were not correctly applied in the past and when they are they will work.

Maduro is just the latest in a line of communist leaders who have applied communist dreams to their nations only to turn them into economic and social rubble.

*The writer is a political analyst and author of Egypt’s Arab Spring and Winding Road to Democracy.  

*A version of this article appears in print in the 9 August 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Venezuela and communist failure

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