How Socialism Killed Venezuela

The stories and photos that come out of Venezuela these days are heartbreaking. People picking through trash to find food for their families, hospitals lacking the most basic medical supplies, stores with empty shelves, money that has become worthless even if there were something to buy, and lawless gangs beating senseless anyone who dares challenge the tyrannical regime of President Nicolàs Maduro.

One of the most prosperous countries in Latin America has become a violent, destitute nightmare seemingly overnight, as the world looks on in horror.

Marxist academics and pundits have been brazen in their attempts to shift the blame for Venezuela’s downfall away from the socialist regime that has ruled the nation for nearly twenty years. It was just oil prices dropping that destroyed the economy, they claim; or it was corruption; or the classic “it’s not real socialism.”

In Episode 2 of The Deadly Isms video series, Matt Kibbe rips apart these arguments by telling the story of Hugo Chávez, a populist strongman who was explicit in his desire to turn Venezuela into a socialist state. Unable to do so all at once due to Venezuela’s U.S.-inspired constitution, Chávez set about systematically tearing down the checks and balances through raw popular support.

When Chávez nationalized his nation’s massive oil industry and used its proceeds to fund a torrent of unsustainable social spending, it seemed like his promise of a socialist utopia might come true. He was the toast of the Marxist intelligentsia all over the world, with leftist Hollywood stars and progressive politicians in the United States fawning over the man they claimed had finally proved that socialism was the future.

We all know now how and where that has led, and we owe it to the suffering people of Venezuela to learn from their government’s example that socialism kills.

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Josh Withrow

Josh Withrow is the Director of Public Policy at Free the People. He transitioned from studying medieval history to modern policy, only to find nothing has changed.

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