What’s So Great About Life in the Socialist Utopia of Venezuela?

Posted on January 3, 2010

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With celebraties like Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Kevin Spacey, Ed Asner, Harry Belafonte, and supermodel Naomi Campbell touting the greatness of Venezuela’s wanna-be President for life (a.k.a. king) President Hugo Chavez and his socialist politcal system, I began to ponder what it was about the socialist president that I was missing.  Why did I still think the man only claimed to be for the people but has continually instituted policies that keep the population in poverty and dependent on government?  I decided to take a closer look at was is happening in Venezuela to see if I’d misjudged Mr. Chavez.  Which policy was it that made me think so negatively of the socialist president?

Was it the policy that, although Venezuela is “flush” with oil and natural gas, President Chavez prefers that his country rely on hydroelectric plants (even in the middle of a drought) for power which has resulted in a shortage of electricity?  Doing this so he can continue to export oil and gas (industries which he has taken over and nationalized) to other nations.

And then, instead of pursuing the construction of oil and /or natural gas power plants which would provide a constant supply of electricity for all, did I judge President Chavez’s new regulations which require the rationing of electricity to businesses too harshly?  Violations of which could be punished by outages and fines and which are predicted to negatively affect a large number of businesses.  Leaving them the only option of trying to use generators after 9pm to produce whatever electricity they may need.

Maybe I got the wrong idea about Venezuela’s socialist government when they revoked the license of a radio station that expressed negative opinions about Chavez and his policies, and instead have transformed it into a state-run station. The government closed 33 other radio stations as well, with no details of what will happen with them.  200 additional stations are now under “investigation,” with critics claiming Chavez and his government of trying to stifle dissent.

Maybe I was in the wrong to think it was unfair for President Chavez to insist that foreign private automakers share their technology with local businesses or be forced to leave the country.  And if these companies are booted, in his great wisdom, Chavez will invite in the Russians, Chinese and Belorusians because they make such great cars which are in ever-increasing demand…

And surely I’m mistaken to think it unjust that President Chavez has seized control of a U.S managed gold mine  in his attempt to nationalize all the mineral resources and stifle any outside private investment in the country.

Finally, I must be absolutely wrong about the President Chavez’s  water rationing policy (which can last up to 48 hours per week) that took effect in early November in the capital city of Caracas and is expected to last through spring of this year.  The policy which encourages three minute showers and using less water when brushing teeth, I’m sure, will be a great help in the water convservation effort.  The drought really must be to blame, not the misuse of the country’s water supply (remember those hydroelectric plants – see link’s last paragraph) and decades of negligence leaving some rural cities not able to turn off their water at all.  I’m absolutely wrong to think that the money from oil and gas exports should have been spent on the country’s infrastructure instead of weapons. 

After further review, Mr. Penn and Mr. Glover could be right.  Maybe President Chavez’s policies do improve the lives of his country’s people.  Perhaps we should all move to the socialist utopia that is Venezuela.  And to Mr. Penn and Mr. Glover, I’ve only got one thing to say:

“You go first.”