By Roger Roots,
founder, Lysander Spooner University
I remember many conversations with fellow graduate students while I obtained my Ph.D. in Sociology at UNLV around 2002-2004. Socialist politics had recently taken power in Venezuela and my fellow grad students all spoke warmly of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
Some of my friends told me that Venezuela was plowing new ground for “the people” by throwing off the oppression of Capitalism. Venezuela would soon be an example of the wonders of central planning, I was told.
Today after 15 years of socialism, the people struggle to survive by dumpster diving, and eating dogs, cats and pigeons. Starving Venezuelan prisoners recently killed, cooked and ate a fellow inmate for food. Other Venezuelans have broken into zoos to kill and cook rare horses and other zoo animals for food. Hookers turn tricks for as little as a tube of toothpaste or a box of diapers.
Writer Jeff Jacoby has a new column recounting the deceptions and excuses offered by prominent government trusters regarding Venezuela over the years.
In a Salon piece titled “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle,” David Sirota declared that the Venezuelan ruler, with his “full-throated advocacy of socialism,” had “racked up an economic record that . . . American president[s] could only dream of achieving.” The Guardian offered “Three cheers for Chavez.” Moviemaker Oliver Stone filmed a documentary gushing over “the positive changes that have happened economically in all of South America” because of Venezuela’s socialist government. And when Chavez died in 2013, Jimmy Carter extolled the strongman for “improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.”