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Chavista Apologists Need to Get Real

By: Javier Garay - @Crittiko - Aug 29, 2014, 8:53 am
Defenders of Chavismo need to look no further than reality.
Defenders of Chavismo need to look no further than reality. (Flickr)

EspañolLast week, I wrote about the Venezuelan government’s decision to close the border with Colombia to combat smuggling. Although the point of the article was to highlight both the futility of such an effort, and the tepid response of the Colombian government, I was surprised by many of the critical comments that emerged to defend the Chavista model.

I did not have to look very hard to find ample evidence of the failure of this model and its steady conversion into one of the most closed, totalitarian, and oppressive regimes in Latin America.

While defenders resort to personal attacks against me and “the Colombians” (a term which reflects the collectivist vision held by defenders of regimes such as the one in Venezuela), the Nicolás Maduro government was making more desperate attempts to confront shortages and the ongoing economic crisis.

He began by announcing a fingerprint system that will be used to prevent Venezuelans from purchasing more than they “need” to survive. The government then proceeded to outlaw the exportation of goods considered “basic.”

Is it really necessary to explain how these policies will not only fail to effectively address shortages, but will actually make them worse, by continuing to dismantle any sort of incentive structure for both producers and consumers?

Is it also necessary to explain that these measures demonstrate that shortages are not the result of trade with Colombia, even though some of those transactions are considered illegal by governments of both countries?

Is it necessary to argue how these policies violate every notion of individual rights and liberty?

The events of the past week not only prove the Venezuelan government’s totalitarian approach to the economy, additional facts also highlight the severe and multidimensional situation in Venezuela’s neighbor to the east.

A recent Gallup poll found that Venezuelans feel less safe in their country than any other population in the world. Defenders of the regime would argue that these results are skewed or manipulated.

However, in the same week, concern over rising levels of insecurity were reaffirmed. Chavistas: instead of trying to fight the facts, focus on solving the problems that are destroying any sense of peace in your streets.

Many of the critics claim the violence in Venezuela comes from Colombia, as readers have previously shared with me. Even though I know these claims have no basis in reality, it is worth noting that, for this to be true, rates of violence in Colombia would have to be higher than those in Venezuela — and that is simply not the case.

However, if you insist on continuing with this argument, it is only further evidence of the failure of the regime that you so vehemently defend. Was is not Hugo Chávez who was so proud of his close ties to FARC guerrilla? Was it not the Chávez government that, instead of adopting a policy of drug legalization, preferred a volatile coexistence with drug traffickers?

If you would like to prove something as absurd as the notion that all the violence in Venezuela comes from Colombia, then you also have to accept the fact that the Venezuelan government has failed to fulfill the minimum functions of a sovereign state, and that the Chavista regime has attracted and permitted the arrival of the country’s worst criminals.

With so much evidence in one week, and much more that has gradually unfolded over the years, the question is: how can anyone defend the regime that governs Venezuela today?

Undoubtedly, the majority of the staunchest Chavista apologists are part of the elite created by the system itself, also known as Bolibourgeoisie — people enriched under the corrupt shadow of the Venezuelan government. It makes sense that, for them, the system apparently works, and so they defend it accordingly. However, this only further evidences the failure of this model. It benefits a tiny few, while condemning millions of their fellow citizens to poverty and tyranny.

Unlike them, I do not disqualify their arguments with personal attacks that lack logic and reason in an effort to defend my own ideas. Bolibourgeoisie or not, this does not in itself invalidate their defense of the regime.

Fortunately, instead of personal attacks, there is plenty of statistical and factual evidence that we can examine. We have evidence based in theoretical explanations that not only help us understand what is happening today in Venezuela, but that also allow us to anticipate the crisis will only worsen unless Chavistas change course.

By examining this evidence, we can better understand the reasons for the Venezuelan government’s failure, and the immorality of a system that is based in hatred and oppression.

Translated by Alex Clark-Youngblood.

Javier Garay Javier Garay

Javier Garay is a professor at the Externado University of Colombia. He has written two books on international issues, such as development, after his doctoral dissertation focused on the same topic. Follow him on Twitter @crittiko and through his personal blog, Crittiko.