September 23, 2021

Venezuela After the Elections

    – Militarization: End-Stage ‘Socialism of the 21st Century’

The progression of socialism in Venezuela won’t be what Marx predicted, with the state withering away. Instead, criminal gangs and the military have joined hands with the Maduro government to keep the Chavistas in power and the people in chains.

The rise of gangs may have gone almost unnoticed but, even so, they are no less deadly. Recently, 28 miners were allegedly murdered by the ‘El Topo’ (Mole) gang in search of gold, with the apparent complicity of the police and the military.  In a smaller-scale but poignant incident, a Venezuelan man reported, “My son was robbed the other day.  The kids who robbed him were Chavistas from the local community council. And they had guns…. They had high-powered guns that people use to fight wars. They stole everything my son had, including his shoes. He came home barefoot.”

“Mega-gangs” are taking over entire areas of Venezuela.  According to a document leaked in February, the Defense Minister wants to give even more arms to gangs this year than last.

As for the military, The Truth wondered where they stood in Venezuela’s big mess and whether a coup might be in the offing.  No need; they have apparently been cut into the deal.  The military has been handed control of large swathes of the economy including parts of the oil and mining sectors. The military has formed 11 corporations in these sectors which operate without civilian oversight or public disclosure.  Also, some 2,000 active and retired military officers have been appointed to posts in the upper echelons of government during the Chávez and Maduro regimes.  Venezuela has only had 40 years of civilian rule versus 140 years of military rule in its history, but a coup does not appear likely given the military’s privileged perch as a vested and powerful special interest group.

This arrangement appears stable for the moment but the military and gangs could combine to cut the Chavista government out of the picture entirely and take over Venezuela for themselves.  In a recent fictional thriller (‘Ghost Fleet’ by Singer and Cole), Chinese business interests combined with the military to depose the communist government of Red China.  Thus, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Venezuela’s political map could be altered by a combination of forces more powerful than the government.  How long could the corrupt civilian government stand up to what in effect would be the combination of the Chinese People’s Liberation army and the Colombian FARC paramilitary gangs?  The Venezuelan government has created monsters that might yet prove its undoing.

Aside from the last bit of speculation, the account and viewpoint summarized above comes from an article at Libcom.org.

  • Editorial Starter Kit – Socialists like Bernie Sanders talk a good game about ‘social justice’ but, in the end, sweetness and light gives way to wealth and power for a tiny elite. Never mind that 74 percent of the Venezuelan electorate turned out to vote and ushered in a sizeable majority for the political opposition in the legislature in December.   To hell with the people and what they want.  What chance do they have against thugs armed to the teeth who will take everything they have, including their shoes?   If you’re waiting for the Venezuelan state to wither away according to Marxist theory, don’t hold your breath.  There’s a lot of corruption and gangsterism to get through before anything else happens.

The Role of the Catholic Church

In January 2015, Venezuela’s Catholic bishops told Pope Francis that Marxist socialism and communism are responsible for the disaster that has befallen their country.  These ideas produce breadlines and destroy freedom and individual rights. The bishops went on to say that free enterprise is critically important and a new entrepreneurial spirit is needed in Venezuela. Socialism harms the poor most of all, the bishops said.  The Catholic Church has been outspoken before (e.g., Breitbart), but The Truth could only find one account of the Church continuing to speak out after the statement to Pope Francis (Wall Street Journal).  We could find no news stories about Monsignor Diego Padron, head of the Catholic Church in Venezuela.  Has the government found a way to silence the Church?  Where do things stand?  What accounts for the Church’s recent silence?

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