Socialism is crushing and killing Venezuela's poor
As if anyone needed any further proof that socialism harms the poor most of all, the New York Times has a masterly spread on the extent of mass starvation in Venezuela as a result of "government policies." Over the course of five months, the Times interviewed doctors at 21 public hospitals across the country and got on-the-record quotes to create a worthy picture.
So much for socialism helping the poor. And so much for socialist handout policies creating "poverty reduction," as multilaterals like the World Bank put it. What Venezuela's 19 years of socialism has demonstrably produced is starvation, same as all other socialist dictatorships, and it's not the rich who are starving. The poor aren't merely poor in that hellhole; they are dead or going to be dead. The long, picture-laden Times piece is Pulitzer prize stuff, with every sentence well worth reading, even with the Times's customary failure to lay the disaster at socialism's door.
The Times writes:
"Children are arriving with very precarious conditions of malnutrition," said Dr. Huníades Urbina Medina, the president of the Venezuelan Society of Childcare and Pediatrics. He added that doctors were even seeing the kind of extreme malnutrition often found in refugee camps – cases that were highly unusual in oil-rich Venezuela before its economy fell to pieces.
For many low-income families, the crisis has completely redrawn the social landscape. Parents like Kenyerber's mother go days without eating, shriveling to the weight of children themselves. Women line up at sterilization clinics to avoid having children they can't feed. Young boys leave home and join street gangs to scavenge for scraps, their bodies bearing the scars of knife fights with competitors. Crowds of adults storm Dumpsters after restaurants close. Babies die because it is hard to find or afford infant formula, even in emergency rooms.
"Sometimes they die in your arms just from dehydration," Dr. Milagros Hernández said in the emergency room of a children's hospital in the northern city of Barquisimeto[.]
So much for the humanitarian claims of socialism – in Venezuela – that leftists such as Bernie Sanders have been so quick to praise and claim as superior to capitalism.
Have the Millennials who think socialism is better than capitalism gotten their arms around this manufactured system of starvation?
What of Sean Penn, Naomi Campbell, Oliver Stone, and other celebrities who have praised Venezuela's starvation-creating regime?
What's creepy here is that the government, like Stalin's before it as it starved Ukraine, seeks to keep the extent of the starvation it has created a secret. The Times report got hold of an accidentally released statistic from the government and then data from the hospitals, writing:
[T]he statistics that have come out are staggering. In the Ministry of Health's 2015 annual report, the mortality rate for children under 4 weeks old had increased a hundredfold, from 0.02 percent in 2012 to just over 2 percent. Maternal mortality had increased nearly fivefold in the same period.
As for the poor themselves, the Times tracks the lives of several families as they bury their starved babies, explaining their Venezuelan customs such as placing angel wings on baby coffins and getting charity embalmers to help with the burial since all of their money goes to food. We get a whiff of the Zika virus and its capacity to affect mothers' milk, meaning babies must rely on unavailable formula and often get fed God-awful stuff such as anise tea instead, which damages their stomachs. Kids leave their parents to forage for garbage in gangs where the eating is better, others go without food for days, and parents contemplate committing suicide. That's what starvation looks like up close, and it's the product of price controls, import controls, currency controls, spend-up-a-storm inflation (right now the world's highest at over 2,000%), and government rationing that make up the tapestry of socialism. The Times calls it "government mismanagement," but it's quite a bit more specific than that.
Sure, the government will take care of you. What's not to trust?
Besides the failure to provide, nasty stories are woven in to the piece about Venezuelan officials coercing the poor for votes in order to secure food and threats to doctors for reporting accurately on the causes of children's deaths.
It creates a detailed picture of the socialist nightmare and ought to be required reading in schools.
What we are seeing here is the most obvious thing in the world: not only does socialism fail every time it's tried, eventually running out of other people's money when there's nothing left, but it has a special way of targeting and harming the poor, first taking away their freedom, then taking away their food, and then lying about it. It's effectively violence reinforced by lies and lies reinforced by violence, as Aleksander Solzhenitsyn once wrote.
The Catholic Church on its liberation theology side has been loud in touting the "preferential option for the poor," but it's been dead silent about this unfolding human catastrophe. Vatican Radio has cited Venezuela just twice in the past two years if you do a search on it, neither of which time speaking about the enormous obscenity of this kind of man-made poverty born of socialism.
Will the praisers of socialism finally speak out after this report? They'd better if they want to retain any credibility.