British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously noted that socialist governments “always run out of other people’s money.”
Western Europe and the U.S. are doing it ever so gradually. Venezuela is doing it in one cataclysmic moment.
The oil-dependent socialist country, plagued by low oil prices and even lower levels of leadership, is imploding before our very eyes. After months of protests and strife and shortages of everything and people scouring trash for edibles, President Nicolás Maduro’s sham election Sunday to create a puppet congress – and his subsequent brazen roundup of opposition leaders – has pushed the nation closer to complete collapse and perhaps civil war.
The only course is for the world to isolate Maduro’s malevolence as much as possible – although broad sanctions, of course, hurt the very people who need help. There’s no good answer.
Maduro’s mentor and predecessor Hugo Chávez was the absolute darling of the American left, a Dictator to the Stars, including Sean Penn, Danny Glover and Oliver Stone, who lionized Chávez in film.
The postscript isn’t so pretty.