Imagine these two scenarios:
There was once a country with the largest oil reserves in the world, where infrastructure, the health system, the entertainment world, the education, among others, was number 1 in its continent. Immigrants from throughout the world—Germans, Spanish, Italians, Lebanese, Dominicans, Haitians, Cubans, Bulgarians, Greeks, Syrians, Turkish, Chinese, Indians, Americans, French, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox Christians—arrived to this country in hopes for a better future and to take advantage of the stable system and benefits that the country offered. The country flourished economically, and not only depended on its oil market but created generations of professionals that pushed the country forward. Modern infrastructure became an inspiration for other regional countries at the time, and the country became a beacon of hope and a brighter futures for everyone. Celebrities from the continent arrived to this country to launch their careers and become stars. People escaping dictatorship from other regional countries were received with opens arms and allowed to stay. Pushing yourself forward was everyone’s motto, and regardless of how hard certain situations where, where the government was controlled by two parties and corruption occurred, the country continued to prosper.
Now, imagine another country where rampant crime exists, where mothers have to worry about their children being killed in the streets. Where you cannot take out your cellphone in a street because you are worried that you will get shot or kidnapped. Where you have no freedom of speech because the government will persecute you. Where you have no freedom of choice, where you have no access to basic goods, water shortages, medicine shortages, electric shortages—a humanitarian crisis. Where infrastructure and cities decay, becoming lost in time. Where the government persecutes any that are against them, resorting to manipulating elections to benefit themselves. Where you are shot by the military simply for protesting and asking for better life conditions. Where the government is involved in drug trafficking. Where your salary is devalued by the week—your daily salary is worth a bag of chips, and in a few months, your salary is not even worth a bottle of water. Where millions of professionals that were once ranked number one in the world are now escaping the country, crossing borders, in order to clean public toilets, sell cheap drinks in a street, or become prostitutes.
Which one of these two countries would you choose?
What if I told you that these two scenarios describe the same country, not two different ones.
The country described is Venezuela.
The latter paragraph describes the situation in Venezuela post-1999, once Hugo Chavez gained power. Many readers may ask: if the country was originally so great, why did the people vote for Chavez? The answer is simple: when people are desperate and dislike the status-quo, even if the problems are quite minimal and easily resolvable, people resort to extremes.
Many readers may yet again ask: how did the country fall into such a disastrous and extensive demise after the leftist victory of Hugo Chavez? The answer is yet again simple: socialist policies. Once you interfere in markets, allow for complete anarchy to reign the streets, dismantle television networks, take complete control of all branches of government, eliminate private enterprises, this will happen in whichever country. Many people claim that it is not socialism because it was not applied properly and there are so many other factors to consider the disaster. This excuse continues to be used in every Socialist disaster. If there are no countries that have ever been successful implementing it, because factors like what has happened to Venezuela continue to arise, why do people continue to advocate for it?
Now, with an American perspective, think of this: a self-acclaimed Socialist, Bernie Sanders, openly supported various policies that Hugo Chavez implemented, and he supported them using the same rhetoric that Chavez utilized. If you had the choice to choose between maintaining the status quo, or electing someone with hopes that the country will be fixed but risking it fall into demise like Venezuela did, would you take the chance?