Once thought to be a promising and upcoming socialist utopia, Venezuela is now caught in a death spiral towards famine, starvation and poverty, all of which are directly linked to the corruption of a centralized authoritative regime. The conditions in Venezuela are so bad, in fact, that the government must set up barriers and restrictions for the news media so that the socialist country’s reputation isn’t damaged any further.
In February of this year, for example, CNN was kicked out of Venezuela for reporting on the poor conditions inside Caracas Public High School. “CNN, do not get into the affairs of Venezuela. I want CNN well away from here,” demanded President Maduro. “Outside of Venezuela. Do not put your nose in Venezuela.”
However, despite this resentment towards the news media, ABC Australia journalist Eric Campbell was recently able to capture undercover footage of the horrific conditions inside of Venezuela. The video shows a country replete with starving Venezuelans lining up in the streets for food, people digging through the trash to find a small bite to eat, and also violent thugs and gangs that are quickly climbing the nation’s social ladder.
“They’re here from 3 a.m. to buy two packets of flour,” one man explained in the video. “That’s the only product in the store, there’s nothing more.” Interestingly, when asked by Eric Campbell who was to blame for the hunger and the corruption, the man replied, “Well the government is to blame, because the government holds the people’s money.” (RELATED: You won’t believe what Venezuelans are resorting to eating in order to survive.)
Another Venezuelan said of the empty food shelves, “They’re fine in the government, they can eat and all that stuff while people queue from three in the morning.” The young woman, who eventually identifies herself as a mother, explains how she has to get in line at two or three in the morning just to find “nappies” for her baby which, according to her, are difficult to find.
As the short documentary goes on to explain, often times the long food lines and the scarcity of food cause all-out riots, which is why law enforcement now stands guard outside of grocery stores.
Unsurprisingly, the physical conditions of Venezuela are poor as well. Trash lines the sidewalks of most of the country’s neighborhoods, and the roads are cracked and littered with potholes. This is especially true for the very top of the hills, where the poorest of Venezuelans live. As Campbell notes, taxis don’t even travel up that way. Instead, communal buses and motorbikes are used to get from place to place.
Venezuela didn’t get this way overnight. The long food lines, the poverty and the economic dislocation has really been brought about by the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998. Once in power, Chavez did away with the existing congress and replaced it with a new National Assembly, which he then used to rewrite the country’s constitution in order to consolidate his power. Though Chavez thought of himself as a successful and enlightened world leader, his actions as president proved otherwise. For example, Chavez essentially launched an all out war on the private sector by nationalizing thousands of private companies and industries, which as history tells us, does nothing to stimulate the economy. By contrast, excessive government regulation over the economy initiates an economic death spiral.
Years of these kinds of policies are what eventually turned Venezuela into what it is today – a chaotic, poverty-ridden society whereby government officials live like kings and the people, quite literally, live and eat in trash. Americans should look at the conditions in socialist Venezuela and learn from them, because if we continue going down a path of progressivism, social engineering and big government, our society will one day look similar, if not identical, to Venezuela’s.