"Normalizing" Dictatorship

We’ll get to this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment shortly but first… Rio Times tells us that Brazilian President, Lula da Silva,is assuming the presidency of Mercosur, which periodically rotates among member countries, at the Mercosur Summit in Argentina.

 Lula has signaled he will advocate for the reintegration of Venezuela into the bloc, considered by some as “the South American Common Market”.

 Venezuela was suspended in 2017 over concerns about the rupture of “democratic order” under the regime of Nicolas Maduro. Brazil and Argentina support Venezuela’s return while Paraguay and Uruguay remain cautious.

 So, what’s changed? Nothing in Venezuela, the Maduro regime is as oppressive and undemocratic as ever with no independent judiciary and no rule of law, but Brazil and Argentina now have socialist presidents and, as we’ve so often seen, socialists place adherence to socialist ideology above all else.

 The Democratic Socialists of America, leftist leaders in South America, and around the world are all attempting to “normalize” relations with the Maduro regime and appear willing to overlook the Chavista’s constant Human Rights violations, possible crimes against humanity, and seem to ignore the 1,400 extrajudicial killings committed by Maduro’s security forces each year, all in the name of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 How all these people can justify their tacit approval of the brutal dictatorship in Venezuela by seeking to “normalize” relations is beyond me.

 Then we have Caracas Chronicles telling us that Venezuela auto assembly plants produced about 200,000 vehicles in 2007. In 2021 they produced eight.

 Until Hugo Chavez took power auto parts manufacturers produced everything from aluminum wheels, AC units, radiators, and differentials, not only for the Venezuelan market but for their South American neighbors and the US as well. Today that export business as well as the domestic business is nonexistent.

 Tire manufacturers Goodyear and Firestone had factories in Venezuela before the onset of Chavismo. Today they are gone. All the well-known brands have been replaced by Chinese and Iranian imports. (Does anybody think the Chinese and Iranian products are the same quality as the brands sold in the rest of the world? I didn’t think so.)

 As the article put it, “”the bones” of a once mighty industry are still there (in Venezuela) but, just like PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company), it would need personnel, functional infrastructure, regulatory protection, and massive local and foreign investment.

 None of this will happen as long as the Maduro regime and the Chavistas remain in power as they have a long history of screwing basically everyone, companies and countries alike, on basically every deal they’ve ever made. That is the reality of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism.

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 19/ It’s A Wrap…

 “There are only four things… what people want to hear… what they are willing to believe… everything else…then there’s the truth”  The International

 I wanted to begin our wrap-up session with that quote from “The International” because I think of it all the time. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am, if nothing else, a cynic and that quote is perfect for me. It’s a constant reminder not to “drink the Kool-Aid”.

 In my (not so) humble opinion, we tend to get in trouble when ideology trumps, no pun intended, reality. Everything and everyone should be evaluated on it’s own, or his or her own, merits, not grouped together. Everything and everyone are not always as they appear to be. I find that I am usually better served when I slow down, stop and think, look beneath the surface, peel back the layers of the onion, all that good stuff. If I take the time, am willing to ask the questions, and honestly evaluate the answers (those based on facts) I at least have a chance to reach some kind of understanding. I may still get it wrong but at least I have a chance.

 So why am I saying this? If you haven’t guessed already, I’m not a big fan of socialism. It seems to go against both human nature and what I learned from my parents and grandparents, specifically another good old saying, “there is no free lunch”. I think of socialism as “wouldn’t it be great if…?” The USA got an early look at socialism/communism with the Pilgrims. When they arrived in the New World they took a communal approach to planting, tending the crops, and harvesting. It would have been great if everyone had the same sense of responsibility. It would have been great if everyone was equally motivated and had the same work ethic. They almost didn’t survive “wouldn’t it be great if…” and did so only through magnanimous treatment by the indigenous people. The following season they went the private property, personal responsibility route and they prospered.

 While I could go on about the failures of socialism, there’s plenty of good, well-researched, work out there regarding the consequences of socialist policies (like a 100% failure rate). My goal was to try to understand what happened in Venezuela through a lot of hard work, research, and personal experience. I believe I have accomplished my goal and have a much better understanding of what happened (and why) than I did before I started this project (and before I lived in Venezuela).

 More tomorrow….

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