Venezuela, wracked by food and medicine shortages, a crippled economy, record high inflation and falling oil prices, staggers toward the abyss.
The Venezuelan people have reached the end of their patience with President Nicolas Maduro, taking to the streets to demand an election to remove the leftist leader from office.
But Maduro seems to have no intention of giving up power without a fight. His government has clamped down hard on the protesters, using riot-control vehicles to run over demonstrators and exchanging tear gas with protesters’ rocks and Molotov cocktails.
At least 37 people have been killed since protests intensified in April, while hundreds more have been injured and thousands have been arrested.
Venezuela has fallen a long way in a relatively short period of time.
“Just 20 years ago, Venezuela was close to being a first world nation with an expanding middle class,” William Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, told WND.
“Today it is in ruins, with riots in the streets and the highest murder rate in the Americas, as people literally kill for food. Once again, the culprit is the ‘magic think’ of utopianism, which I discuss in my book ‘Utopian Road to Hell: Enslaving America and the World with Central Planning.'”
Murray said utopian thought arrived in Venezuela in 1999 with the election of socialist president Hugo Chavez and continued with Maduro, Chavez’s successor, in 2013. In Murray’s view, this was Venezuela’s undoing, as it has been with many other countries.
“Mental illness is sometimes defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result each time,” Murray said. “Nation after nation has tried utopian central planning and failed.”
He offered a history lesson.
“The Chinese communists saw that communism was not working in the Soviet Union and declared they could do it better, and millions starved to death as a result. Finally, China moved away from the insanity of Soviet-style utopianism and advanced to have the largest economy in the world. Russia, now free of the nightmare, is still trying to rebuild from the ruins of communism, using private property and business as a new base.”
In fact, Murray even sees a historical parallel from U.S. history.
“The starvation now affecting Venezuela has the same root cause as the starvation in Plymouth Colony in 1620,” he asserted. “The colonists were influenced by a utopian dream which is akin to a mental illness, a ‘magic think’ that causes some to believe that people will work harder for the common good than for themselves and their family. The Plymouth Colony only survived because after one disastrous year they returned to private ownership of the land and individual responsibility for their well-being.”
Over the past two years, signs of socialism’s failure in Venezuela have been abundant. Hungry citizens have spent 12 hours waiting in line outside the supermarket for food, only to find the items they wanted were not available. Some desperate Venezuelans have resorted to eating garbage to survive, while others have eaten dogs, cats and pigeons.
Power shortages resulting from dirt-cheap electricity prices have roiled the country, forcing Maduro to grant public employees extra days off to conserve electricity in federal office buildings.
Meanwhile, hyperinflation has led to a spike in consumer prices on some items between 14,000 and 19,000 percent. And despite Venezuela’s vast supply of oil, its economy has shrunk by about 25 percent since Maduro took office, partly because the government came to rely too heavily on oil exports for revenues.
Murray believes Venezuela’s only hope of a recovery is to return to the free enterprise system.
“Free enterprise and private ownership is saving China and Russia and the other victim nations such as Poland and Hungary,” he said. “As soon as those central planners who believe they can manage the lives of every individual in the nation are gone from the scene, the nation of Venezuela can start to rebuild.”