Venezuela: Socialist hypocrisy in action

Frontpage Mag reports:

QuoteVenezuela’s spectacular collapse evokes memories of other such socialist nightmares. Blessed with fantastic oil wealth, Venezuela was once the region’s richest nation. But after years of leftist policies culminating in Cuban-style socialism, the oil-rich yet impoverished South American nation is now in the throes of a humanitarian crisis ? near famine conditions and a hemorrhage of poor refugees pouring into neighboring countries. Venezuela’s collapse is like other socialist nightmares in another respect: corruption.

Many top officials and friends of the regime have gotten filthy rich through corruption. This is nothing new, to be sure. Like other Third World petrostates, Venezuela has long been a kleptocracy, ranked over the years by corruption watchdog Transparency International as one of the world’s most corrupt nations. Venezuela’s corruption gravy train, however, soared to epic levels under what the late President Hugo Ch?vez and successor Nicol?s Maduro called ?twenty-first-century socialism.? Corrupt officials and insiders got rich in a variety of ways: kick-back schemes and bribes involving state industries; sleazy currency-exchange deals and money laundering; and other nefarious deals ? from outright theft of state assets to drug trafficking. Corruption flourished due to a dark side of human nature: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Venezuela’s already fragile democracy was destroyed.End of quote.

When the state owns the means of production, it’s no surprise that bureaucrats and officials are deep in the trough.Quote:

QuoteIt’s no fun living in a failed state, not even for Venezuela’s filthy rich socialists. So many have relocated with their looted wealth to first-world getaways. The U.S. is a favorite destination, with Florida in particular being a popular haven for ex-officials and insiders. Amusingly, they made a beeline to the U.S. despite Ch?vez and Maduro’s blustering anti-Americanism and praise for communist Cuba. They weren’t stupid. In the end, they believed that America ? with its rule of law, property rights, and high quality of life ? was the place to be.End of quote.

No one does hypocrisy like the Left. Quote:

QuoteOne of these wealthy socialists is Alejandro Andrade, a former bodyguard for Hugo Ch?vez who rose to become Venezuela’s national treasurer. The 53-year-old Andrade now lives on a fabulous estate in Wellington, Florida, an exclusive community just west of West Palm Beach, which Money Magazine once ranked as one of America’s 100 best places to live[…]

None of this has escaped the attention of the Trump administration, which is reportedly moving against Andrade and other such corrupt Venezuelan expatriates. In South Florida, Federal authorities ?are building a massive money laundering case against Andrade and other former Venezuelan officials,? according to the Miami Herald, citing unnamed sources in Miami and former government officials from Venezuela. ?Andrade and several other associates in Venezuela?s government, banking and business sectors are suspected of enriching themselves by selling billions of dollars in bonds, capitalizing on fluctuating exchange rates and hiding their profits in Swiss bank accounts and U.S. investments,? the paper reported.End of quote.

Under Obama, Andrade would be in line for a medal. Quote:

Quote?I?m not surprised,? Otto Juan Reich, a former senior official in the administrations of President Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, told The Palm Beach Post. ?I know that he has been followed very closely by U.S. law enforcement for the last few years.?

Reich, who was U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 1986 to 1989, added that while Andrade ?is reported to be one of the wealthiest of Ch?vez?s business partners, he is far from the only one. South Florida is crawling with Venezuelan boligarchs.? (Boligarch is a term invented by Venezuelans to describe Hugo Ch?vez’s filthy rich cronies and government insiders. It’s a portmantu of the surname of Venezuela’s independence hero Sim?n Bol?var, Hugo Ch?vez hero, and the word ?oligarch.? ? Bol?var? also is the name of Venezuela’s currency.)[…]

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, ?Venezuelan Government corruption is associated heavily ? but by no means exclusively ? with two government entities. The first of these is Venezuela?s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), from which approximately $11 billion went missing between 2004 and 2014, according to news accounts of a report by a Venezuelan congressional commission. Another significant engine of corruption in Venezuela involves the black market surrounding the official exchange rate regime set by the National Center for Foreign Commerce […]End of quote.

Both political and economic power concentrated in the same place. What could possibly go wrong?Quote:

Quote[…]It’s an old story. In socialist regimes ? from Soviet Russia and China to Cuba and North Korea ? ruling elites and insiders live very well while ordinary people face daily deprivations and even starve. In Venezuela, the clock is now ticking for the Maduro regime as the Trump administration targets rich socialists who helped destroy their own country.End of quote.

Yep, and in Venezuela the ruling socialist elites have done such a number on the country that even they can’t stand living there and have buggered off to the country they spent all their time dissing.

Socialism is supposed to be a kind of middle ground between capitalism and communism where the state guides the transition from capitalism to communism and in the process the state becomes obsolete. Everyone lives together in a kind of anarchist utopia where there’s no need for the state because there’s no private property and everyone gives according to their ability and receives according to their needs.

Put like that, no wonder it’s never worked.