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Venezuela: A Humanitarian Crisis The Left Couldn’t Care Less About

I&I Editorial

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 establishment to what’s happening in Venezuela is disgusting, but it’s also incredibly revealing. Human suffering matters, it seems, only when it suits the left’s ideological agenda.

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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9 comments

  • Margaret Thatcher’s comment that socialism works until you run out of other people’s money was never more apt in Venezuela’s case; skyrocketing oil prices delayed the running out of other people’s money for a few years, but when oil prices declined, Venezuela’s economy crashed even faster.

    • The decline of oil prices had less to do with the economy crashing than the mismanagement of the worlds largest oil reserves by the socialist government. The simple fact is they nationalized the entire industry, kicked out those oil companies that had invested and created the means of extraction and then proceeded to decimate the industry left behind with incompetence.

  • The media “sweep-under-the-rug” treatment is a total repeat of what happened with Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, another leftist favorite.

  • I must say that Venezuelans are getting the exact government (and life) that they deserve, and they are getting it good and hard. (Thanks Chesterton)

    I must say that I have exactly zero sympathy or empathy for them. They got exactly what they wanted now they get to live with it. When a similar fate befalls residents of Illinois or California (two name two), I won’t care about them either. Actions have consequences.

    • Do you really think a 14 year old girl forced into prostitution in order to get food for her family is getting what she deserves? How about the people who, when they had the chance, voted against Chavaz and Madero, only to see the majority vote the other way? Many of them are living through this hell too.
      Even people who voted for Chavez were probably lied to all their lives by evil people who knew where this would lead; or at least misled by leftist fools who actually thought that socialism would somehow work out.
      I was able to leave California, but it was an easy decision. I don’t believe it would be that easy for the typical Venezuelan to find a Texas to move to. Regardless, sooner or later we all need mercy, because we all make mistakes. Was there never a moment in your life that you weren’t happy you didn’t get what you deserved?

  • Venezuela is a shining example of Socialism success. I wonder, why so many Americans do not want to hear about it? Bernie and his millennial’s idiots? Hollywood slickers? Media?

  • Venezuela is dire warning and the future for any first world country which votes itself into socialism. Millions of people who are dependent on electricity, running water, and sewage systems that work are awaking up in a third world country. If you cannot protect yourself and grow your own food, you are dead.

    Yes, they voted for it and deserve to get it “good and hard.” But just imagine what New York City would become without electricity or running water for a month without any outside aid. It would not be pretty, is an understatement.

  • Here we go again; an advocate for meddling into another country’s affairs. The people of Venezuela elected Maduro as their President and it is they who will have to remedy the situation, not the US. Has t his writer learned nothing from the debaucle in Iran and the US’s attempt to keep the Shah in power? This is NOT a leftist problem; the left in the USA is not in charge of the State Department or the Diplomatic core presently. This is The Donald problem; he has bad-mouthed so many of their efforts at peace, that many career diplomats are retiring in droves. As for women, the right of center in this country needs to stop commenting on the plight of women; the only concern most right of center have regarding women, is that we keep quiet until addressed or we do as we are told. The writer of this nonsense on Venezuela has neither the insight or experience to deal with such problems and wanting the US to intervene is folly and in the long-run, will not be appreciated.

  • I’m Venezuelan and I completely agree with you John. Thank you for your support. It is unfortunate the left’s negligence but I am so thankful for President Trump’s actions to help us end this brutal socialist regime. This is not me alone but everyone of my friends, family members, and everyone I know is thankful to him and want the US to help us end this dire crisis by overthrowing Maduro once and for all.

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