Socialism in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro ended as socialism always ends: Chavez family members and cronies became billionaires (in some cases, multi-billionaires) while most other Venezuelans starved. Now the Venezuelan people are throwing off the socialist tyranny. As we noted here, the Trump administration has recognized Juan Guaido, the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, as interim President of Venezuela. A number of Western Hemisphere governments have followed suit. Control of Venezuela now hangs in the balance, although it seems obvious that the Maduro regime is doomed by the inherent contradictions of socialism.
One country, though, defends the regime that has starved Venezuelans to the point that millions have fled the country: Russia. Today, Vladimir Putin expressed his unequivocal support for Venezuela’s socialists:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered his support to embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a phone call.
Mr Putin “expressed support to the legitimate government of Venezuela amid the acute political crisis that has been provoked from the outside”, the Kremlin said.
The “outside” means the U.S. government.
The Russian leader emphasized that “destructive foreign interference tramples on basic norms of the international law”.
It added that the two leaders underlined a shared intention to “continue the Russian-Venezuelan cooperation in various spheres”.
Russia had already denounced the US decision to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president, calling it an attempted coup.
Russia has been a key sponsor and ally of Venezuela, and last month it deployed two Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela for several days.
Venezuela, along with Cuba, has been a haven for Russian military forces in the hemisphere.
The main lesson of Venezuela’s collapse is, of course, the inevitable failure of socialism. But it is also worth noting that the Trump administration has stood up against Russian pretensions to a greater degree than any since the Reagan/Bush era.