25 years after Venezuela elected Hugo Chavez, 5 lessons for the U.S.

Article author: 
Monica Showalter
Article publisher: 
American Thinker
Article date: 
1 February 2024
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 

Twenty-five years ago, far-left socialist Hugo Chavez assumed Venezuela's presidency, lawfully elected and sworn in on Feb. 2, 1999, after an up-and-down career as a restive army office involved in a coup d'etat...

Once in. it didn't take long for Chavez to turn his once-prosperous country into a socialist hellhole...

... Venezuela does offer cautionary lessons for us in the states...

One -- that elections matter. Elect a politician promising handouts, as Hugo Chavez did, and watch the country go bust, running out of money in just a few years' time... And as money ran out, it didn't take long before the government started expropriating from others -- starting with small landholders, owners of small farms, and minor landlords -- and moving on to major industries -- electricity, water, and above all, oil...

Two, fraudulent elections, and even the perceptions of fraudulent elections matter even more...

Lesson: Fraudulent, or at least rigged, elections lead to even more horrible consequences than legal elections and once they happen, there is no return...

Three, immigration matters. One thing not well-known to Americans is that Venezuela, with its historic oil booms and busts, tended to attract a lot of immigrants. The unassimilated immigrants -- from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and more -- were often in the country illegally, and when the oil booms ended, retreated to the extralegal shantytowns...

Four: Crime matters. Venezuela under Chavez had a horrific crime rate, with drugs and FARC terrorists from nearby Colombia fueling much of it. Chavez let that crime go on, and the country become unliveable -- because it served as a means of social control over the decent-people opposition...

Five: Chavez may have been a failure, but it didn't matter, because his regime was forever...

Venezuela's opposition has carried forward honorably and diligently, always holding the candle of democracy, yet like us, never being willing to engage in a Contra-style war such as was seen in less-developed Nicaragua against the Marxist Sandinistas in the 1980s...

... that Chavez model is Cuba in a more developed form... Will that same model be replicated here?...