My trip to Venezuela has converted me: the world needs more 21st-century socialism, and I am now a proud supporter of Hugo Chávez and President Nicolás Maduro. Let me share why.
1. Waiting in line builds community spirit.
If you haven’t seen long queues to stores, you haven’t been to Venezuela lately — and this is not just a Black Friday affair. These lines allow you to talk with people you wouldn’t normally talk to, and about what you might be doing if you weren’t waiting in line.
2. Inflation is fun.
Have you ever had an ongoing problem of so much money you can never fit it in your wallet? Here in Chavista Venezuela you can have that and more, and the lack of the highest denomination (100 Bs.) means you can become an expert at counting smaller bills too.
3. Choice is overrated.
Some people want a brimming supermarket full of options, but that just makes life complicated. We’ve all seen people wasting their time as they go back and forth between essentially the same products.
Under Chavismo, you can do even better, and many items are nowhere to be found. Apparently locals have hoarded deodorant, for example, so you can enjoy natural body odors instead.
If you want to buy a car, you don’t have to test drive one. You can conveniently place an order at a dealership, and maybe in a year to two it will arrive.
4. Slogans bring paradise.
Those who accuse Chavistas of getting nothing done, aside from ruining an economy and creating chaos, obviously cannot read. The regime leaders have shown their incredible competence by placing graffiti and billboard images everywhere.
These billboards show respect for the great ones who are responsible for Venezuelan success, and remind passersby that El Commandante vive y la patria sigue. (Commander Chávez lives, and the motherland follows.)
Just look at the results of these loving words. Notice the fine watches of the selfless leaders, and the luxury housing of the common people.
5. Cuba is an economic role model.
Chavistas learn from the best, the regime that has perfected communism and remained in control for more than half a century. Cubans, including one of Che Guevara’s right-hand men from the glorious revolution, provide economic know-how. They show how to achieve an average salary of US$20 per month, and in return the Cubans receive a mere $13 billion annually in various forms of aid.
There may have been movements of late to suggest that the rulers of the Cuban regime are giving up on communism. If this is true, they have sold out to the evils of capitalism and economic growth. Chavistas, on the other hand, will remain true to the cause. They are proud to call it “Bolivarian socialism.”
6. I like to wear red, all the time.
If you have a taste for the beauty of red, Venezuela is your haven. While members of the opposition shun red, in favor of boring white, loyal Chavistas don it at all rallies. Government workers also show their pride by sporting the color on the job.
This is one place where you can enjoy wearing red and at the same time tell everyone that you are a communist.
7. Who doesn’t like getting free stuff?
Some people are weak and can’t grow up to take care of themselves. They need their betters to provide for them, and the Chavista rulers have stepped up to the plate. Not only do they provide free medical care, when it is available, they tell stores to slash prices, or else.
When people decide they’d rather just take items from stores without paying, they look the other way — as Robin Hood would do. It is all to stop the real thieves, the stores that do not charge fair prices. Sometimes the people even steal from the regime, but that sort of stealing is unacceptable.
8. Democracy is better without dissent.
Human-rights organizations have criticized President Maduro for imprisoning opposition leader Leopoldo López and have even called the prosecution of former Representative María Corina Machado “ludicrous conspiracy charges.”
How naive can they be? This is not a matter of attacking political opponents. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela must remain united, and they apply the same scrutiny and ostracism to their own members. Most recently a snitch line was necessary, to out infiltrators.
El militante que esté fomentando la desunión debe ser denunciado a través de: firstname.lastname@example.org, y vía sms al 0416-9425792
— Francisco Ameliach (@AmeliachPSUV) November 12, 2014
9. I am not a fascist, imperialist, or traitor to humanity.
Anyone who does not support Chavismo falls under these three terms, and deserves to be called out on that fact. The logic is abundantly simple: if you are not one of these three, you must be a Chavista.
— Karol in Red (@Karol_en_Red) December 9, 2014
I will admit that Chavistas do not all know what fascist means — something about a pile of sticks — but that is immaterial. So long as it sounds evil, it is useful for admonishing opponents of the people’s revolution.
10. Big Brother Chávez sees all.
Maybe 1984 by George Orwell was fiction, but Hugo Chávez is El Líder Eterno, and he has eyes everywhere — literally painted all across the nation. He is watching, and he knows whether you have been bad or good. A Catholic priest here told me this deification of a person is ridiculous, but I prefer not to take a chance.