We have chronicled the catastrophic collapse of socialism in Venezuela here and in many other posts. Government control over the economy, beginning with liberal hero Hugo Chavez and continuing under his successor, Nicolás Maduro, resulted in poverty for pretty much everyone outside the ruling elite. (Socialism produces the most rigid class distinctions of any economic system.) Venezuelans were engaging in knife fights in grocery stores, trying to grab the last loaf of bread. Toilet paper disappeared, as Venezuela could neither produce nor buy such a humble product. The disaster was complete.
Happily, Venezuela still has elections. Yesterday, the anti-socialist opposition swept to a historic victory, winning a supermajority of 112 of 167 congressional seats. While the revulsion of the people of Venezuela against socialism was obvious, Maduro’s government was unrepentant:
Mr. Maduro on Monday night blamed the party’s loss on an “economic war” waged by the private sector and shadowy international interests that hide goods from supermarket shelves to make the government look bad. He promised to press ahead with the revolution.
That’s very funny, in a black humor sort of way. “Shadowy international interests” are “hid[ing] goods from supermarket shelves to make the government look bad.” Right. We could call that an invisible hand that causes goods not to appear in stores, the opposite of a sane system.
Venezuelans were appalled not only by the poverty that socialism caused, but also by the corruption that accompanied the Chavez/Maduro regime. This is no surprise: as Glenn Reynolds has said many times, leftists hate free market policies because, while they enrich the ordinary citizen, they provide insufficient opportunities for graft among the political elite.
Venezuelans know all about graft: Hugo Chavez’s daughter, Maria Gabriela Chavez, has a $4 billion fortune that was stolen from the Venezuelan people. And she is not the only beneficiary of left-wing corruption. Alejandro Andrade, who was Venezuela’s treasury minister under Chavez, was found to have $11.2 billion in Swiss bank accounts. No wonder Venezuelans thought it was time to give freedom a chance!
That sort of corruption is what the Clintons thrive on and try to reproduce–with considerable success, to be fair–in the United States. And it isn’t just Hillary. Bernie Sanders, who has aroused more enthusiasm than any other Democratic presidential candidate in the current cycle, is an avowed socialist. Think about that: he wants to make America like Venezuela, a country where grocery stores have no food to sell, riots break out everywhere, and toilet paper is a precious commodity on the rare occasions where it exists at all. If this is the future you want–while, of course, the politically connected become billionaires–the Democratic Party is for you.