Maduro, Sanders and Clinton: Compare and Contrast

Socialism always fails, and it’s always someone else’s fault. In the last stages of socialist collapse, when there is not enough to eat and society teeters on the brink, “wreckers” and “saboteurs” are the traditional villains. That’s the point Venezuela has reached.

President Nicolas Maduro is now blaming Lorenzo Mendoza, the head of Empresas Polar SA, Venezuela’s largest food company, for the country’s food shortage. (I’m not sure who is taking the fall for Venezuela’s lack of toilet paper.) Maduro says Mendoza is a “thief” and a “traitor.” He threatened to unleash the bully boys on whom socialism always depends:

“He’s a true thief,” Maduro said to a crowd of red-clad supporters. “I call on the people to unmask Lorenzo Mendoza in the streets. I’m waiting for you Lorenzo Mendoza.”

Mendoza has had the temerity to call on Maduro to follow sane economic policies. That is more or less a crime in a socialist country.

Maduro has long maintained that Venezuela’s triple-digit inflation…

Triple-digit inflation is what happens when a socialist government thinks it can stave off poverty by printing paper.

…and deepening recession are the result of a smear-campaign waged by his rivals.

Of course! If only we all believed in pixie dust, it would work.

Venezuelans line up to buy price-controlled toilet paper

Venezuelans line up to buy price-controlled toilet paper

Maduro’s opponents counter that the state of the economy is the result of more than a decade of state controls and government incompetence.

Well, yeah. But where socialism reigns, reality is unwelcome. Maduro, of course, has a solution: more socialism!

“If you can’t handle your companies, hand them over to the people,” Maduro said.

Maduro will be lucky if he doesn’t wind up hanging from a lamppost like Mussolini. But let’s not forget that his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chavez, whose policies Maduro has perpetuated, was popular with American liberals. Only Chavez’s untimely death spared him from Maduro’s humiliation.

Bernie Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” apparently to put space between himself and Communists. Chavez and Maduro were and are democratic socialists. Both were elected to office. So it is fair to take Venezuela as a model of what Sanders wants for the United States. Hillary Clinton, too: she is trying to run to Sanders’s left, equally socialist but more hard-line on gun control.

So here is a question: how is Nicolas Maduro’s demonization of Lorenzo Mendoza and other “saboteurs” different from Sanders’s and Clinton’s attacks on an amorphous “Wall Street”?