Ilhan Omar is a familiar type–a leftist who sees everything wrong with the world as America’s fault. We can call this the Noam Chomsky view of history. No one but the American government enjoys any human agency; all others are passive victims of American malice. Like the Chavez/Maduro regime in Venezuela, for example.
In this interview with the far-left Democracy Now!, Omar blames Venezuela’s collapse on sanctions that were imposed by the U.S. government in 2017:
A lot of the policies that we have put in place have kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela, and we’ve sort of set the stage for where we are arriving today. And this particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change, really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela and it certainly does not help, and it’s not in the interest of the United States, and I think finally we have folks in Congress that see what Professor Sachs was referencing.
Here is the video:
The Professor Sachs whom Omar refers to is Jeffrey Sachs, an anti-American economist who was interviewed by Democracy Now!, apparently, just before Omar. Sachs suggested that things were mostly fine in Venezuela until August 24, 2017, when the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Maduro’s government. This was the revisionist history with which Omar agreed in her interview.
The idea that Venezuela’s tragedy has something to do with U.S. sanctions is of a piece with the absurd, blame-America-first nonsense that we have heard from leftists for the last 55 years. What was the condition of Venezuela’s socialist state before August 2017? We documented it here on Power Line. For example, here, here, here, here, here, here, and finally here: “Hungry Venezuelans Raid Zoo For Food,” dated just over a year before the Trump administration’s sanctions, during the pro-Chavez Obama administration. There are many more, going back for several years.
What was Venezuela like in August 2017, just before the Trump administration imposed the oil-related sanctions that Ilhan Omar blames for Venezuela’s demise? As it happens, the Associated Press withdrew its correspondent, Hannah Dreier, from Venezuela at the beginning of that month, and she wrote a farewell dispatch from which we quoted here:
The first thing the muscled-up men did was take my cellphone. They had stopped me on the street as I left an interview in the hometown of the late President Hugo Chavez and wrangled me into a black SUV.
“What should we do with her?” the driver asked. The man next to me pulled his own head up by the hair and made a slitting gesture across his throat.
Fortunately, Maduro’s socialist thugs didn’t murder her, as they have so many others.
I came to Caracas as a correspondent for The Associated Press in 2014, just in time to witness the country’s accelerating descent into a humanitarian catastrophe.
Venezuela had been a rising nation, buoyed by the world’s largest oil reserves, but by the time I arrived, even high global oil prices couldn’t keep shortages and rapid inflation at bay.
Over the course of three years, I said good-bye to most of those friends, as well as regular long-distance phone service and six international airline carriers. I got used to carrying bricks of rapidly devaluing cash in tote bags to pay for meals. We still drove to the beach, but began hurrying back early to get off the highway before bandits came out. Stoplights became purely ornamental because of the risk of carjackings.
Tyranny and poverty are the two inevitable consequences of socialism. More:
As things got worse, the socialist administration leaned on anti-imperialist rhetoric. The day I was put into the black SUV in Chavez’s hometown of Barinas coincided with a government-stoked wave of anti-American sentiment.
Anti-American sentiment which Ilhan Omar and her leftist friends parrot.
Then true hunger crept into where I lived. People started digging through the trash at all hours, pulling out vegetable peelings and soggy pizza crusts and eating them on the spot. That seemed like rock bottom. Until my local bakery started organizing lines each morning, not to buy bread but to eat trash.
Venezuelans were hunting rats to fry for dinner long before President Trump took office. Not because of foreign “imperialism,” but because socialism is an evil system that enriches a few at the top while enslaving, and impoverishing, everyone else.
Is Ilhan Omar really too dim to understand this? Yes, I think she may be. She is an immodest person of modest talents. She knows nothing of economics, nothing of history. One might expect that being rescued from a refugee camp in Kenya and brought to the U.S., where she was housed, fed, educated and given unparalleled opportunities, would make her pro-America. But in today’s Democratic Party, anti-Americanism is the ticket to power. And Ilhan Omar is riding that train as far as it will take her.