That isn’t quite how the New York Times puts it, of course. In fact, the words “socialist” and “socialism” never appear in its otherwise unsparing account. But Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro illustrates the inevitable arc of socialism, from parasitism to gangster rule.
The uniformed men who shot Mr. Moreno were not government security forces, witnesses say. Rather, they were members of armed bands who have become key enforcers for President Nicolás Maduro as he attempts to crush a growing protest movement against his rule.
The groups, called collectives or colectivos in Spanish, originated as pro-government community organizations….
Led by community organizers, presumably.
… that have long been a part of the landscape of leftist Venezuelan politics. Civilians with police training, colectivo members are armed by the government, say experts who have studied them.
With Venezuelans starving and dying for lack of basic medicines, only armed gangs can keep the socialist government in power. Of course, the colectivos don’t subscribe to the supposedly high ideals of socialism:
Colectivos control vast territory across Venezuela, financed in some cases by extortion, black-market food and parts of the drug trade as the government turns a blind eye in exchange for loyalty.
Of course, Chavez and Maduro were nothing but thieves, either.
Now they appear to be playing a key role in repressing dissent.
As rising foreign debt and falling world oil prices have depleted the Venezuelan government’s coffers, it has increasingly turned to colectivos as enforcers. From labor disputes with unions to student demonstrations on university campuses, colectivos are appearing almost anywhere the government sees citizens getting out of line, Venezuelans say.
Eladio Mata, a hospital union leader, says he was shot last year by colectivo members when negotiations deadlocked with the University Hospital of Caracas.
“In this country, it’s prohibited to dissent,” Mr. Mata said.
Of course it is! That is what happens when you elect socialists. Just ask the students at Middlebury, Berkeley, Claremont, etc. They can’t wait until they take power and steal enough money to hire colectivos of their own. That is what socialism–all power to government, none to the individual–comes down to.
Mr. Rojas, who works with opposition politicians, said he had become used to the attacks, which have long been a fixture of his activism.
“They attack your neighbors when they are in food lines and are identified as opposition members, they attack store owners by making them pay extortions, they attack bakers by taking away part of their production which they later sell on the black market,” he said. “They are not true collectives, or political actors — they are criminals.”
Just like Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro, and socialists the world over.