A improper basket case is never seen as legitimate by the American media. There is always some righteous, and leftist, opposition, no matter how small that truly speaks for the people. If this illegitimate government was seen as rigging elections, it will be attacked at any sign of weakness. Now a proper basket case is Venezuela. Venezuela is a socialist paradise, or at least was portrayed as a populist, socialist uprising of support for Hugo Chavez. His crew of gangsters has wrecked Venezuela’s economy and society. The NY Times is on the case for how to fix it, but will not say anything about political reform or removal of the cronies in charge. No enemies to the left in the pages of the NY Times.
The Times enlists left wing Alejandro Toledo to chip in an op-ed, or at least sign his name to their writing, to add prestige and gravitas to his words since he was the president of Peru in the ‘00s. Toledo has been there as a leader of a South American nation, so he digs the problems, man. Some very clever sleights of hand that happen are calling into question income inequality and how the elite are separated from the rest in near economic apartheid but never admitting that the elite are Chavez’s gang of pals. The other deft side stepping is citing Chavez’s moves for redistribution but never painting Chavez’s economic policies as the reason that the nation is running out of toilet paper.
The answer to fixing Venezuela’s problems are more redistribution as social welfare programs should be enhanced. More “direct support” for pensions and unemployment insurance. Slow down, but Chavez did things like that while in power leading to this crisis. There is an odd mention of following the lead of “other Latin American nations and reorient its economy away from dependence on the volatile oil export market”. This is a bit confusing as how many OPEC members are there in Latin America? How many oil exporters in general? Speaking of the oil market, why not have the government remove the forced oaths of loyalty for oil workers that Chavez required, which created a brain drain and subsequent drop in oil production? Moving to more manufacturing and food production would allow union creation and Peronism to solidify the Chavez clique’s hold on power.
Toledo cites something he did, and it was called “conditional cash transfers”. This is where the government pays out welfare but only is certain conditions are met by the recipient and their family. Sounds like a child’s allowance but there are plenty of adults with the sense and impulse control of children. Sounds a bit like a modest proposal that some in our community would love to apply. Maybe this is the solution for Detroit, but why stop at a conditional additional benefit? Let us set up any government assistance to civilization building behavior. The World Bank even studied the program and found a true blue positive effect to those policies. Now when can we apply this to parts of our cities where the ruin is at Dresden in ’45 levels?
The other weird suggestion is that Mr. Maduro the stand-in “face” for the “Venezuelan Communist Regime” should open up political freedoms and allow for the opposition to exist peacefully and outside of jail cells. Toledo goes into a kumbaya mode as he raps on how the wider a democracy is the better the economy and then the better democracy is in a virtuous cycle. Wonderful way to conflate the joys of economic expansion with voting. More democracy put the Venezuelans into this current state of disorder and ruin. The Chinese have taken a gigantic jump in living standards all the while lacking this democracy that Toledo loves. Any suggestion to suspend elections and go on a massive reorganization of the entire Venezuelan sociopolitical world? No. The left wants Venezuela to stay far left just with running water, working electricity and toilet paper.
The op-ed ends with Venezuela deserves better. Does it? Even with the rigging of elections, there were plenty of Venezuelans who supported Chavez and his gang. The ones I feel sorry for and who deserve better are those who never wanted the Chavez routine, those who hopelessly but honestly believed in the rules of the game, and those who wanted out but couldn’t flee. The corrupt elite who set Venezuela on this path and those who gleefully chanted for Hugo deserve what they get. After all, they voted for it.