Venezuela Withers before the World’s Indifferent Gaze

EspañolThe Venezuelan government continues to create and enforce new systems of control. For example, the government’s new compulsory biometric system intends to track consumers and ban “purchases that cause shortages in supermarkets.” This new fingerprinting system is their way of “maintaining order in the food supply.” The government does not seem to understand that the solution to these problems is not more control.

El barrio José Félix Ribas en la zona de Petare, en Caracas, es uno de los más densos de América Latina (Wikimedia)
The Petare sector of Caracas is one of the most densely populated in Latin America. (Wikimedia)

Venezuela is the clearest example that the mere existence of natural resources does not better a country, or its economy. Instead of using these resources efficiently, the government distributes them demagogically. Oil in the hands of the Venezuelan government has served to finance corrupt populist programs, distributing oil money as if handing out treats to children.

Venezuelans live in shameful conditions. Whether it’s food shortages, media manipulation, or lack of press freedom, they experience the disintegration of society on a daily basis.

Venezuelans are the victims of both the Maduro dictatorship’s violence, and the delinquents who turn to violent crime as a result of the extreme poverty in which they live.

In fact, poverty is one of the few things that the Chávez government has been able to successfully produce during its 15 years in power. The Petare sector in the nation’s capital, Caracas, is a perfect example. The expansive residential area, one of the most dangerous and densely populated in Latin America, is one of the saddest sights in Venezuela: valley after valley of decrepit shacks, stacked one on top of the other.

This perverse socialist experiment seeks to achieve total control over every Venezuelan, creating a society of subjects, not citizens.

The Venezuelan government wants to maintain power, much like the Castro regime that has been oppressing Cubans for over five decades. Unfortunately, Venezuela is on the same path. This is only possible when liberty and integrity have been sacrificed in the name of a nonexistent utopia built on deceit and resentment.

Although socialism has taken freedom out of the hands of the Venezuelan people, a fervent desire for progress and liberty remains. There is a yearning that can never be expropriated, controlled, rationed, or eliminated by the arrogance of populist demagoguery.

When walking the streets of Caracas, something in me breaks as I witness a country on its deathbed, while so many international media outlets and foreign governments remain indifferent and complicit in this atrocity.

Venezuela is now a country where the government closes shops over illegal “speculation,” price controls have emptied shelves, hungry citizens wait in long lines for food, cities have been militarized, and protests have been silenced.

Venezuela is a place where the public has had to sacrifice individual pleasures and the pursuit of happiness in a daily struggle to survive. It is a repressed society, forced into submission after long months of struggle in the streets fighting for a better future.

This is reality in a country teetering on collapse. Only a small sliver of hope remains, and it fades a little more with each passing day.

Disillusionment has taken root in Venezuela; its streets evoke the sense of a permanent warfare state.

However, I do not think Venezuela will become another Cuba. Although positive changes may not come for another several years, all is not lost and there is hope in the long term.

The revolutionary government will not cede power in a smooth and peaceful transition. There is no incentive for the Chavistas to oversee a democratic election and gracefully exit the stage. Why would they ever voluntarily relinquish power when all comfort and control is in their hands? It will take more than protests to bring about their demise.

Faced with silent complicity, the government continues to manipulate the Venezuelan people, casting those who do not comply into the worst kind of hell.

Those on the outside looking in must take action before the situation affects them personally, rather than waiting until confronted with the communist nightmare themselves.

I point to an excerpt from English poet Rudyard Kipling’s 1914 poem, “A Song in Storm”:

Be well assured that on our side, the abiding oceans fight, though headlong wind and heaping tide, make us their sport to-night … How in all time of our distress, and our deliverance too, the game is more than the player of the game, and the ship is more than the crew! … Be well assured, though wave and wind have mightier blows in store, that we who keep the watch assigned must stand to it the more … We can make good all loss except the loss of turning back.

This is how Venezuelans might survive their daily storm. Let us not forget, Venezuela, hope for a better future is not lost.

Translated by Rebeca Morla and Laura Weiss.

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