The fact that Mexico and Uruguay have sided with barbarism in the darkest hours of Venezuela is not a coincidence at all if we consider the ideological profile of their rulers. A decade has passed since the peak of the Sao Paulo Forum, the congregation of left-wing parties that have become governments in Latin America, financed to a great extent by Venezuelan petrodollars under the command of Hugo Chavez. Venezuelans today bear the cost of wasting money to fund a political project on an international scale.
The founders of this forum were Lula da Silva and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in 1990. The latter was in large part responsible for promoting socialist cancer in Latin America.
According to the foundational bases of the forum, it was set up to bring together the efforts of left-wing parties and movements to “debate the international scene after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequences of neoliberalism in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Castro, who drove his population into poverty, was the fundamental axis of the attack on the continent’s freedom. For decades, his totalitarian government financed and advised armed guerrilla revolutions in the main democracies of the region, such as Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. He even participated in armed invasions in African and Asian countries such as Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Angola, and Ethiopia. Furthermore, he unsuccessfully attempted to destabilize Panama and the Dominican Republic.
After years of failed attempts at armed intervention, Castro found in Chavez his perfect ally to finance and expand socialist cancer in Latin America, as detailed in Orlando Avendaño’s book, Dias de Sumision. Chavez’s ascent to power represented the rise of the first leftist government in decades in the continent where the economic portfolio served to consolidate the ideological boom in the region and fulfill the dream of the warlords of Venezuela and Cuba (to unify Latin America under the yoke of socialism). As a result, in the following years, the Sao Paulo Forum was filled not with parties, but with states with partisan representations.
In 2002, Lula da Silva (one of the founders of the forum) of the Workers’ Party was elected in Brazil; in 2004,it was Tabare Vazquez of (Broad Front) who won the presidency in Uruguay; Bolivia followed in 2005 with the election of Evo Morales of the Movement to Socialism in Bolivia; Michelle Bachelet of the Socialist Party of Chile in 2006. That same year Rafael Correa (PAIS Alliance) in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua (for the second time) (Sandinista National Liberation Front) came to power.
In the following years the governing parties with representation in the Sao Paulo Forum would continue to grow with the election of Fernando Lugo in Paraguay for the Patriotic Alliance for Change; Mauricio Funes of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador in 2009, and Ollanta Humala for the Nationalist Party of Peru in 2011. We can also include the Argentine government presided over by the Kirchners, who, although they were not direct members of the forum, were ideologically and economically aligned with it, especially with Chavez’s government and later with Nicolas Maduro.
In short, it was Castro who sowed in Chavez the seed that would forever change the continent’s political dynamics, leading several countries in the region back to the past and failure. Moreover, they were accomplices in international organizations of aberrations, economic crashes, and repressions against citizens of countries that have already transcended into tyrannies, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
It is not a coincidence that the high point of the forum was the arrival of Chavez to power and that the decline of the forum also happened right after his death. The commander was consciously able to unite the socialist flag in the region due to the excess liquidity granted by the largest oil reserves on the planet. The value of a barrel of oil was more than 100 USD during most of Chavez’s presidency. Thus, there were no limits on the financing of populist measures inside and outside Venezuela. Additionally, the regime could buy out consciences in American and the Caribbean countries, which always knew how to return favors in silence when international organizations discussed human rights violations by leftist regimes.
After Chavez’s premature death due to cancer, his legacy was in the hands of Maduro. Many want to blame Maduro entirely for the revolutionary failure in Venezuela to try to absolve the commander, but above all, socialism. Certainly, the principle of separation of powers had already been cast aside when Maduro came to power.
Statism had already made its way by seizing private property to exploit it and then break it. The oil company had already been destroyed and plundered. All the money made from these looting operations was distributed to the people through bags of food, thus financing the ideological extension of socialism in the continent. The only thing it left in Venezuela was hunger, tears, death, a devastated economy, and no type of infrastructure.
We can put the failure of socialism in numbers. It is sufficient to say that after Chavez came to power in 1998, PDVSA produced 88 barrels a day per employee. Today, it produces less than 6 barrels per worker, according to economist Jose Toro Hardy. With a much lower payroll, PDVSA produced 3,279,000 barrels a day, a number far higher than the approximately 700,000 today, of which some 100,000 are given to Cuba. Thus, the result of PDVSA’s decline translates into a current annual production of around 255,500,000 barrels, as opposed to 1,196,835,000 barrels a year 20 years ago, a production loss of more than 80% and billions of dollars.
The destruction of Venezuela’s economic engine has replicated itself in the other productive sectors of the country: construction, automobiles, food production, agriculture, textiles, business, tourism, and finance. Successively, all the fields in which the state has intervened have collapsed, completely wrecking the economy, producing historical hyperinflation, and turning Venezuela into the biggest migratory catastrophe in the history of Latin America.
Two dictatorships that began in the previous century can also be useful to show the differences between a socialist government and a capitalist one. When Castro came to power in 1959, Cuba enjoyed social and economic conditions similar to those in Chile. In 1958 Cuba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 2,360 million USD for a population of 6,631,000 inhabitants and Chile’s was 2,580 million USD for a population of 7,165,000 inhabitants. Chile’s GDP currently stands at 507,939 million dollars, compared to 96,851 million dollars in Cuba in 2017, which was its last official data.
The realization of the reality of Venezuela has indeed shaken the conscience of the continent. It has also made way for the return of governments who are ideologically inclined to support free markets and strengthening of the economy. Meanwhile, other significant countries such as Mexico have succumbed to communism as seen with the presidency in another oil-rich country with a sizeable monetary portfolio capable of financing the boom of the movement of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Cristina Kirchner’s return to power in Argentina is almost imminent. We can predict that the continent will lean left again, and that will prolong Maduro’s stay in power.
Currently, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador have left-wing governments (although the latter two nations have rescinded their support for Maduro’s dictatorship). But the danger of a new expansionist wave of misery is latent. This is taking into account the threat of Senator Gustavo Petro (one of Chavez’ faithful followers) in Colombia.
Maduro’s dictatorship protects the FARC’s return to arms and the exponential growth of the ELN. Kirchnerism is back in power in Argentina. Venezuela faces a dreadful scenario where not only is Maduro in power, but the country also suffers the tragedy of a majority of openly socialist opposition parties, whereby the interim President of the country, Juan Guaido, and his party Popular Will, together with A New Era and Democratic Action are members of the G4 that today control the National Assembly and are part of the Socialist International. The fourth member of the G4, Justice First which is the only party considered centrist, but its leaders, such as former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, have declared themselves admirers of Lula da Silva’s socialism.
The crucial countries that can define the geopolitical destinies of the region are Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia; also, Cuba could be included due to its ideological and strategic repercussions. Today, Brazil seems to be safe. Chile is the only country in the region that has managed to establish strong enough institutions that, despite socialist governments, have not succeeded in undermining the free economic system implemented thanks to the authoritarian but efficient government of Augusto Pinochet decades ago. However, the fall of Argentina is imminent. It could lead to new alliances with Mexico to block any opportunities to end the dictatorship in Venezuela and could also destabilize Colombia with the advice of Cubans, left-wing finance parties in the rest of the region to once again bring the continent down to its knees and protect themselves from international pressure.
Today, despite international pressure, Maduro is smiling because he has managed to hold on to power, repressing his country. Meanwhile, the “opposition” leadership has been called into question on more than one occasion; it has a left-wing ideological line and has been accused by the Venezuelan population of collaborating with Maduro’s regime.
For the dictator of Venezuela, time is his greatest ally. Every day that passes is pure gold for him and misery, humiliations, emigration, and death for Venezuelans. The regime continues to push out Venezuelans who oppose its government, thus enabling it to control the country. It has also been reported that the regime has followed the Cuban tactics and promoted the movement of criminals to the countries of the region to destabilize them.
In short, socialism aims to reconquer Latin America, with Lopez Obrador, Maduro, and Diaz-Canel spearheading this mission. If no one stops them, the crisis in Latin America will be gigantic. The United States will have completely lost control of the region and not even the walls that Donald Trump wants or can build will be able to stop a migratory stampede from Central America towards a country that increasingly rejoices at the socialism established within the Democratic Party.