Try to imagine this scenario. A once-wealthy country spirals downward over the course of several years into a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Starvation and violence are rampant. The economy has collapsed. Millions have already fled. And all the while, an autocratic ruler acts with complete indifference, when he’s not trying to crush dissent and blame other countries for the misery he’s inflicting on his own.
Under normal circumstances, there would be regular protests in Washington. Hollywood actors would be busy creating tear-jerker videos and making emotional award ceremony speeches. Musicians would be putting on global benefit concerts. The corruption, desperation and daily human misery would be above the fold in newspapers and leading the nightly news. It would be on everyone’s mind.
But in this case, the catastrophic suffering is being almost completely ignored. Why? Because it’s happening in Venezuela — a socialist state that the left has for years championed and now refuses to admit has been a monumental failure.
“Much of the Western left, including those who once had only kind words for (Hugo) Chávez and his successors, is treating Venezuela as an embarrassment best brushed under the carpet,” James Bloodworth writes in Foreign Policy.
It is almost impossible to describe what’s happening in Venezuela today.
Ninety percent of the country now lives in poverty. Food and basic necessities are scarce. Malnutrition is rampant. The child mortality rate has shot up 140% since 2008. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States says that newborns in Syria have a better chance of survival than those born in Venezuela today.
There are severe shortages of medicines, and diseases such as measles, diphtheria, tuberculosis have surged. Malaria cases are up more than ten-fold since 2009.
“The situation in Venezuela is dire,” said Dr. Paul Siegel, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.
The economy has collapsed as hyperinflation — which reached 815,000% in May — has taken hold. To cope, President Nicolas Maduro has had to issue new currency twice within the past year. The new 50,000 Bolivar note is equal to about $8. In a country with vast supplies of oil, energy is scarce.
Nearly 10% of the country — some 4 million people — have fled, including many who climbed aboard boats to embark on treacherous and often fatal escapes.
“Women and girls are suffering disproportionately in Venezuela,” says a report from CARE. “Trafficking of women for sex and forced labor is increasing throughout the region. The spiraling levels of poverty, both for Venezuelans inside the country and those fleeing within the region, have forced many women into sex work.”
The response from the left to all this? Ignore it, make excuses, or attack President Trump for interfering.
In fact, the biggest Venezuela protest in Washington was the “Hands Off” march this spring, in which protestors attacked Trump for attempting regime change in the country.
And when the press does report on Venezuela, it almost always leaves out one key detail: The fact that the profound misery is the direct result of the country’s embrace of socialist policies starting with Chavez and continuing with his hand-picked successor, Maduro. In fact, 93% of the stories that aired on network news from February 2018 through February 2019 never mentioned “socialism” or “socialist,” according to a Media Research Center analysis.
The indifference shown by the liberal
You can bet that the next time a country tries to enact Venezuela-style socialist policies, the left will be cheering it on.
Until disaster inevitably strikes and it suddenly loses all interest.
— Written by John Merline
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