In the Washington Post, Venezuelan Francisco Toro, columnist for that newspaper and founder of the Caracas Chronicles group blog, presents an attempt to dissociate the Venezuelan tragedy from its ideological cause.
In the article, entitled “No, Venezuela does not prove anything about socialism,” Toro rails about what he calls “the conservative American mediasphere.” He deems them opportunists, seeking to promote their agendas by taking advantage of the Venezuelan drama. Specifically, he accuses them of linking anyone who raises the banner of “socialism” with those responsible for the worst humanitarian drama that the region has suffered.
His argument is based on the following premise: Venezuela is not the only country in Latin America that has been governed by some self-styled “socialist”, but Venezuela is the only one plunged into an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy.
“Since the beginning of the century, every country in South America, except Colombia, has chosen a socialist as president at some point. Socialists have taken power in the largest economy in South America (Brazil), in the poorest (Bolivia) and in the most capitalist country (Chile),” the article reads. Then, Toro says: “Mysteriously, the supposedly automatic link between socialism and the zombie apocalypse did not occur in those countries. Not content with just not collapsing, several of these countries have prospered.”
First, Toro mentions Peru and the corrupt government, linked to the Lava Jato case, of Ollanta Humala. He also talks about Evo Morales, the communist-chauvinist, with authoritarian pretensions, who has been leading Bolivia since 2006. Toro credits both with securing “important social achievements along the way.”
He talks about socialism in Argentina, in Brazil, in Ecuador and mentions corruption; but then, in an act of pettiness, he says: “I would never have voted for some of those people. But when you try to evaluate their results, the word that comes to mind is “mixed”: successes in some areas, failures in others and no cataclysms in society.”
However, the most disturbing phrase appears after so much condescension with respect to those who represent the capitulation of a region before the Castroite will. Toro, to try to hold his flimsy column together, argues: “Do you not believe me? Ask the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees who are now in Brazil, Ecuador, or Argentina looking for a better future.”
As if the prospect of Venezuelans in other countries was proof of the infallibility of the measures taken by these three governments. As if they did not run away from the most miserable country in the Western Hemisphere, willing to settle elsewhere. Anywhere! Because today we see them, unfortunately, everywhere. In countries in crisis such as Spain or Argentina or Nicaragua: a crisis generated, by the way, by those whom the author tries to forgive.
The greatest misfortune of Francisco Toro’s article is that, in order to try to absolve a dangerous ideology, which is responsible for several of the greatest misfortunes of contemporary history, the author yields to the foolhardiness of, among so many other vices, seeking to find the alleged virtues within the socialist governments of the region.
Because if in these countries, erected by these despots, there is no terrible crisis similar to the Venezuelan apocalypse, it was because institutions, solid and mature societies, and an elite not subject to the whims of oil inflows, prevented it. However, these countries have suffered from terrible corruption, embezzlement, and deterioration of the economy. All necessary sacrifices, under the auspices of the socialist regimes, before the altar of the “common good.”
The gradual erosion of democracy, as Toro mentions in his column in the Washington Post, is a consequence, together with the gradual deterioration of everything else, of the concentration of power and expansion of the state, conditions often inherent in socialist regimes.
And as we see today, in contradiction of Toro, societies in these countries are rejecting what they once rewarded at the polls with their confidence. Hence the pertinent turn of the region away from the Pink Tide, which is nothing but the proof that socialism is a failure and that Venezuela should be raised as an example of it.
Trying to dissociate the Venezuelan tragedy from its ideological cause is not only miserable, but irresponsible. Because it will always be dangerous to share principles with the criminals who today destroyed what was once the most prosperous country in the region. And, if one falls for the foolishness of saying that Venezuela has never been true “socialism”, they should read a recent article by the philosopher, professor, and author Corina Yoris, who explains in El Nacional how and why Venezuela is proceeding through a stage of “Communism/socialism.”
Francisco Toro seems to forget that despite the myth of Chavez: the man who spoke of the poor in his speeches, strived to achieve important social conquests, and was constantly “giving” away houses to the poor, the actual man left the country in ruins. Where are the success stories in the wake of the implementation of his ideology.
The inherent problem here is the irresponsibility of divorcing the intellectual authorship from the policies of the state actors. If there is any benefit in the destruction of a country, caused by Chavismo and its socialist accomplices in the region, it is merely to serve as a sign that socialism does not work. Neither in the third world nor in the first world.