Venezuelans Are Imprisoned in Socialism’s Sinking Ship

There’s a reason why socialists like Bernie Sanders favor a closed-border system: It’s the only way to keep people from fleeing the country.

In Venezuela, where the situation has gone from bad to worse as food and other vital supplies dry up, the government recently relaxed its grip on the nation for just 12 hours, allowing their desperate citizens to cross into Colombia to buy food for their families, a luxury no longer available in the crumbling socialist nation. When the time was up, the borders were closed again and the people sent home.

Some 25,000 Venezuela’s were able to buy food and medicine from Colombian businesses, supervised by a large contingent of local police, ostensibly there to protect the business district, but presumably also to make sure people returned to their country of origin.

It’s terrifying to see a country become a prison for its own people, but this is what always happens when socialist dictators try to exert control over the populace, and destroy the economy in the process. After all, it’s hard to imagine anyone voluntarily staying in a place where they can’t even buy toilet paper. Let us remember that the Berlin Wall did not exist to keep people out of East Berlin, but rather to prevent those on the communist side of the city from leaving.

The situation in Venezuela is tragic for the millions of people suffering the horrors of central planning, but it’s a predictable tragedy. Astute observers have known this was coming for years, when Hugo Chavez nationalized food production, effectively destroying it, and forcing the country to rely on revenue from oil exports, an obviously unstable long-term plan.

Now, farmers can’t get the equipment they need to farm, and the Venezuelan currency, the Bolivar, is so inflated that importing goods to feed the hungry nation is practically impossible. No one in their right mind would now invest in the failing country and its currency, so the prospects for future improvement look dim. While Colombian officials expressed their desire to facilitate future border crossings, that is hardly a sustainable model.

The only potential good that can come out of so dire a situation is a cautionary tale to western idealists who still think socialism means sharing in a nice, cuddly sort of way. What it really means is poverty, hunger, pestilence, and ruin as the inability of governments to efficiently allocate resources causes a collapse, first in the currency, then in the standard of living.

It’s a message we’ve been trying to spread for years, but talk is cheap. It’s easy to dismiss stories of the Soviet Union or Mao’s China as exaggerations and propaganda. It’s much harder to deny the evidence before your own eyes that socialism does, in fact, kill. Still, even that may not be enough, for it seems there is always some rationalization as to why this particular form of misery wasn’t “real” socialism, and if done right it would be a Utopia, a worker’s paradise. Call me crazy, but any Utopia that turns into something out of Lord of the Flies with a few minor tweaks is not something I want anything to do with.

This article originally appeared on Conservative Review.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Logan Albright

Logan Albright is the Head Writer and Sound Engineer at Free the People. He is the author of Conform or Be Cast Out: The (Literal) Demonization of Nonconformists and Our Servants, Our Masters: How Control Masquerades as Assistance.

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