Socialism in action: Hugo Chavez’s socialist experiment is killing people in Venezuela

What the Democratic Socialists in the U.S. don’t want to tell you about socialism: it kills.

David Papadopoulos in Bloomberg:

Hugo Chavez’s Failed Socialist Experiment Is Deadlier Than Ever

Twenty years ago, the ex-rebel rose to power in Venezuela and laid the foundation for today’s humanitarian crisis.

Hugo Chávez had barely been in office two months when Nelson Chitty La Roche, a burly, gruff, gun-toting lawmaker from the Venezuelan political establishment, told me he was fed up. Chitty didn’t care for the way the young socialist leader was pushing around Congress and threatening to rule by decree, and he let out, somewhat flippantly, that he was starting to map out plans to have him impeached.

It was an absurd notion. In those heady, early days of the regime, Chávez was wildly popular. Polls showed he had the support of about 80 percent of the population, an estimate that, if anything, struck me as low. He was their showman, their savior, their avenger—the man who would speak for them and fight for them and provide for them.

Trying to drive him out of power then would have caused a wicked backlash. And yet here was a high-ranking lawmaker talking openly about such a possibility, giving voice to a notion I’ve heard countless times since—that the Chavistas’ days are numbered, that the regime is bound to collapse under the weight of its own incompetence.

Dec. 6 marks the 20th anniversary of the landslide electoral victory that first brought Chávez to power. And, amazingly, his socialist government still stands. (Nicolás Maduro took over as president upon Chávez’s death five years ago.) So when I hear chatter about the imminent demise of the regime, it leaves me somewhat cold.

Sure, the place seems ripe for change. Even from my vantage in the U.S., where the trauma of a kidnapping in Venezuela still haunts my family, the excruciating crisis the Chavistas have engendered is plain to see: the hyperinflation, the starvation, the epidemics. Talk of a military coup swirls constantly; international sanctions are hamstringing top officials; and neighboring governments, now in the hands of right-leaning leaders, are growing increasingly impatient with Maduro’s inability to control the flood of migrants pouring into their countries.

But this regime, through guile and brute force, has managed to overcome any number of existential challenges before. So while you should not be surprised to find the Chavistas out of power in, say, 20 days, you should equally not be surprised if they manage to survive for an additional 20 years.

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