The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, February 24, 2014


South Florida is a very diverse region with millions of immigrants from the Carribbean, South/Central America, the Middle East, and Asia and additional millions of visitors from Europe and Canada. It came as no surprise, therefore, that a few thousand Venezuelan immigrants held a protest in my town this weekend condemning the actions of Venezuela's socialist/communist government against it own citizens. I suspect that many people who drove by the local protest had very little idea what was being protested. Why is that?

The reason is that the main stream media is conflicted. They have quietly reported Venezuelan unrest, but because of their left-leaning bias, have never explored the underlying cause—corrupt socialist policies that have effectively ruined the country.

Megan McCardle comments:
Venezuela's cities are convulsed with riots. A local beauty queen was shot in the head during protests over . . . well, everything: chronic shortages of basic goods, increasing repression of free speech by a government that clearly feels it cannot tolerate any dissent. She is not the only person to have been killed in recent days. The government is cracking down -- hard -- on any and all opposition.
So much for the new socialist utopia that was the dream of Hugo Chavez.

When Chavez took over in Venezuela, he was quietly celebrated by the American Left. Another opportunity, they argued, to stick it to the profiteers, show how ineffective capitalism really was, correct the horror of income inequality, and transfer power to the people. Their naivete was laughably predictable and predictably wrong.

Under Chavez and his communist successor, Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan economy has gone from bad to worse, corruption has skyrocketed and the "little people" have suffered. Shortages are rampant as price controls have skewed the marketplace.

It seems that every socialist utopia begins with a demagogue who uses class warfare to suggest "power to the people" and ends with it's own political elites repressing people when they want to exercise that power. It begins with attempts to modify the economy and markets in an effort to control how wealth is formed, jobs are created, and how the private sector performs. When all of that fails, it continues with massive regulation and heavy-handed repression of those who oppose the socialist leaders.

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar?

In Venezuela, the people are pushing back, violence is erupting, and things have become very unstable. The country is in deep trouble and the road back is uncertain. Sad.


Things are devolving rapidly, and now, even the left-leaning media can't avoid reporting. This, shockingly, from the hard-left Guardian (UK):
Hugo Chavez used to call it la revolución bonita (the pretty revolution), but the world looked at Venezuela last week and saw only ugliness. Protesters gunned down in the streets, barricades in flames, chaos. One of the dead was a 22-year-old beauty queen shot in the head.

With the government censoring and cowing TV reports, many of the images came from smartphones, grainy and jerky snippets filled with smoke and shouts. One fact loomed through them all: Chavismo, a hybrid system of democracy and autocracy built on populism, petro-dollars and quasi-socialism, was reaping the consequences of misrule.

Demonstrations in Caracas, Valencia, Mérida and other cities turned lethal, with student-led rallies provoking a fierce backlash from National Guard units and paramilitaries. They roared on motorcycles into "enemy" neighbourhoods, guns blazing. Families piled mattresses against windows to shield against bullets.

Human Rights Watch accused security forces of excessive and unlawful force by beating detainees and shooting at unarmed crowds. Worse may come. Jailings, beatings and killings have galvanised rather than deterred the mostly middle-class protesters. They vowed to continue until la salida, the exit of a government that has held power under Chávez, and now President Nicolás Maduro, for 15 years. "Change depends on every one of us. Don't give up!" Lilian Tintori, the wife of a jailed opposition leader, Leopoldo López, said via Twitter. Banners fluttered from buildings and barricades. "I declare myself in civil disobedience," read one.
The Guardian studiously avoids the underlying ideology the drove Chavez to create la revolución bonita, and makes no comments about how such "pretty socialist revolutions" always seem to end badly, hurting the very people they were supposed to help, but no matter, the reporting is reasonably accurate—a surprise.