Socialism – not oil prices – is to blame for Venezuela’s woes, by Kristian Niemietz.
So the Left is finally talking about Venezuela again. That is a good thing. For about a decade, large sections of the Left were in the grip of Venezuelamania. We would not hear the end of it. Venezuela’s version of socialism was their shining example, the model which the rest of the world should emulate.
When the country’s meltdown could no longer be denied, they dropped it like a hot potato. And a long period of silence ensued. But recent events have forced the issue back on the agenda again.
The responses vary. Commentators on the Stalinist Left now sound like a copy of the Pravda from the 1930s, fabulating about saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries undermining the economy. The more media-savvy sections of the Left, however, realise that they are unlikely to win many people over if they sound too much like the villain in a Cold War movie.
So they have adopted a more innocuous-sounding line, blaming Venezuela’s woes primarily on the decline in oil prices. Of course, Venezuela is doing badly, they argue. Any economy that is so dependent on commodity prices would do badly under those circumstances. It has nothing to do with socialism.
It sounds superficially plausible. But do you remember which prominent Chavista said this during the oil price boom:
“Of course Venezuela is doing well. Any economy that is so dependent on commodity prices would do well under those circumstances. It has nothing to do with socialism.”
You guessed right: none of them.