While Americans decide on the direction to take in this presidential election year, Venezuela slides further into oblivion. Not long ago Venezuela began a journey that was to create the perfect socialist society. With the worlds largest oil reserves to be the backbone to fulfill this dream what could go wrong? Everything!
After 50 years of failed democratic governments and two failed attempts at military coups during the turbulent 1980’s and 1990’s, a former coup involved military officer Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1998. Chavez ran under the banner of the Fith Republic Movement. A political party that was Marxist inspired Socialism in theory. Chavez promised to give the Venezuelan people a Socialist Utopia by eliminating poverty, educating all and giving everyone access to healthcare. The future of Venezuela was bright indeed.
Being the most urbanized country in South America, the majority of the Venezuelan people live in the northern part of the country. Caracas being the capital and largest of these urban areas. Chavez using the large oil revenues began to implement his Socialist policies that included nationalizing key industries. With the oil markets large profits between 2003 and ’07, the promised Utopia was appearing to evolve. By creating Communal Councils that were freely elected allowed government influence to be more involved at the neighborhood level. This was intended to ensure that the programs were in place at the grassroots level. Despite all of the promise a viscous storm was on the horizon.
By 2009 the Fith Republic Movement joined with other socialist parties from the National assembly creating the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. This centralised power even further for the Socialist. Then in 2013 Chavez passed away at the age of 58 and his VP Nicolas Maduro became President.
Maduro who has been involved in politics since his days in high school when he was elected to the Student Council. He failed to graduate however and as many socialist/communist from South America had done he moved to Havana Cuba. Maduro then at the age of 24 received his political indoctrination by attending Esuela Nacional de Cuadros Julio Antonio Mello that is directed by the Union of Communist Youth for one year.
Upon his return to Venezuela he found a job as a bus driver and eventually became a Trade Union leader. In 2000 he was elected to the National Assembly and eventually became its President. Then he was appointed by Chavez to be Foreign Minister serving in this post from 2006-2013. His wife Cilia Flores replaced him as President of the National Assembly. Maduro was elevated to VP in 2013 as Chavez’s health deteriorated rapidly. Winning the special election that followed Chavez’s death. Maduro has ruled by decree since. To rule by decree is done as a dictator or absolute monarch does.
With a long history of political turmoil Venezuela has wide spread corruption in all areas of government. Crime, Drug trafficking, kidnapping and police corruption had only increased under Chavez and now Maduro. While the people of Venezuela began to suffer as the once promised Socialist Utopia began to crumble after the oil profit boom of ’03-07.
With tighter control by the government including gun bans that only increased the crime rate as the criminal element became even more active. The streets are empty at night as people fear for their lives. Inflation has ruined the economy and shortages of food, medicine and basic necessities are the norm. Electrical power for lighting and refrigeration is limited or nonexistent. A government mandated silencing of the press has resulted in attempts to hide the many problems within Venezuela today from its people to the outside world.
Years of socialist run programs and major corruption within government has furthered the poverty and enriched the Elite who continue to thrive. What many don’t understand about socialism is that it creates a new elite class and sometimes allows the old elite to remain. In the end it creates a distinct two class system by eliminating the middle class and upper classes making everyone below the top 1% and those in government that sustain them the haves and the rest poverty stricken. The strong gun control and limited free speech furthers the goals of corruption and plays into the hands of criminals who don’t follow the laws and keep their guns.
The Venezuelan people have taken to the streets to protest as they seek relief from starvation,crime and joblessness. The Maduro government shows no signs of correcting the problems as the Elite continue their lavish lifestyles. This meltdown continues as the peoples tempers are boiling over. The outcome is unknown as Venezuelan society may have suffered a blow that may end it all.