A totalitarian dystopia: Venezuela can threaten its people, but it can’t feed them

Venezuela has been collapsing for some time. With much of our attention focused on the rising tension and violence in America, and the increase in horrific terror attacks around the world, the chaos in Venezuela has received little attention. But that lack of attention doesn’t change the unmitigated disaster that is taking place.

As I’ve explained in past articles, Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on earth, so its descent into a failed state is a historic indictment of its leaders and failed economic philosophy. President (dictator) Nicolas Maduro will certainly go down in history as one of the most incompetent leaders of all time.

Now, Venezuela’s fall into a dystopian nightmare is nearing completion: With stores increasingly empty, 100,000 Venezuelans have crossed the Colombian border in search of food.

Venezuela is experience massive food shortages
Photo credit: ZiaLater https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

As reported by Hannah Drier with the Associated Press, “Colombian officials estimated 35,000 Venezuelans crossed the border Saturday, the first day of what Colombia’s government called a humanitarian corridor. Almost double that number entered Sunday, authorities said as the mad rush on products like sugar and flour led to extra supplies of staple goods being sent from other Colombian cities.”

Rather than loosening up controls and allowing at least a semblance of the market to function, Maduro is moving in the opposite direction. He is tightening up his fear-based control system, expanding the power of the military.

Consider this report by Richard Washington of CNBC:

“To combat the instability resulting from severe food and medicine shortages, Maduro ordered five of the nation’s largest ports to be regulated by the military. The approach is unlikely to address Venezuela’s underlying problems, experts told CNBC.

“This is not a problem that has a military solution,” suggested Ricardo Hausmann, director of Harvard’s Center for International Development.

Giving extra power to the military is “the opposite of what is needed,” said Hausmann, who added that Venezuela’s government needs to abandon the “totalitarianism approach to the economy.”

Totalitarian approach indeed. At every step along the way, the Maduro government regime has made the Venezuela crisis worse. They have sought to expand their power at every opportunity, ignorant to the horrendous suffering of their people.

The deep irony is that Maduro’s government regime claims to be the counterweight to economic “greed.” But what could be more greedy than a government that hordes dwindling resources for itself, refuses to cede power to the people, and stifles creativity at every turn, while turning guns on its citizens to keep them trapped in a prison of fear, violence, and poverty?

Opening the previously blocked border to Colombia was not an act of kindness or respect for the freedom of Venezuelans, it was done only because the government fears a total uprising.

If there was any doubt that the threat of violence is the true motivation behind Maduro’s totalitarian socialist system, Forbes is now reporting that the military will personally take over certain sectors of the economy. No economy can be long sustained through the threat of fear and violence, and this military takeover in Venezuela will fail like all of Maduro’s previous policies.

The totalitarian nightmare of Venezuela is a cautionary tale for all of us. When power is concentrated so tightly in the hands of government, and when that government suppresses the economic and political freedom of its people while refusing to adapt to changing circumstances, disaster is sure to follow.

The Government Threat of Violence

Venezuela Military Coup
Photo credit: Cancillería del Ecuador https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Governments have one option that no individual, community group, voluntary association, or business does: The use of force, fear and violence against an entire population. Most of the time the government doesn’t explicitly use that power, but it always has it in reserve. And in a crisis, we are at the mercy of politicians – who can be desperate to hold onto power at any cost – even bloodshed.

The people of Venezuela are learning this first hand. CNBC reports Maduro has appointed the Defence Minister to a powerful new role that makes him a de-facto co-president:

“In making the move, Maduro also increased the power and autonomy of the military over civilians. Maduro has claimed that the political maneuver strengthens Venezuela in the midst of a U.S.-backed “economic war” being waged against the country; however, analysts told CNBC that Maduro is shoring up armed support as the forces arrayed against him gain power.”

This looks like a situation that ends badly. People are running out of food and running out of patience. The economy is completely disintegrating. And the deeply unpopular government is entrenching itself by strengthening the threat of armed force and violence.

Let us hope that in time, peace and prosperity can return to Venezuela. And let us all learn a valuable lesson from Venezuela’s chaotic collapse.


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