Chile vs. Venezuela

Chile vs. Venezuela, by Steven Hayward.

Pop quiz: Which country would you rather live in — Chile or Venezuela? That’s pretty obvious — Chile. That was not an automatic answer until recent years. As recently as 2004 Venezuela had a higher per capita GDP than Chile, but then Chile doesn’t have Venezuela’s oil riches. Today Chile has a higher per capita GDP than Venezuela measured in nominal terms, but with a 30,000 percent inflation rate in Venezuela right now (and nothing to buy), nominal comparisons are meaningless, because Venezuela is essentially a failed state. …

What’s the difference between Chile and Venezuela? Socialism, sure, but we should take this point one large step further: the only reason Chile isn’t also a socialist basket case is that it had a military coup in 1973 to prevent the socialist government of Salvador Allende from making Chile into the prototype for Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.

Allende was lauded by the comrades in the Soviet Union

Allende had every intention of following the same playbook of rigging elections and legislative bodies, subverting rival power structures, censoring the press and arresting opposition leaders, nationalizing industries and launching Chile’s economy down the same road to oppressive mediocrity like all other socialist regimes. …

It is a part of the Catechism of the Modern Left that the 1973 coup against Allende was a monstrous event, wire-pulled by Henry Kissinger and the CIA, ushering in the dictatorship of August Picochet, who was never clever enough to know that you’re supposed to mouth Marxist slogans if you want to get good notices in the prestige media. …

Funny how we don’t hear the hoary old Chile-Pinochet-CIA tale as often as we used to, perhaps because smarter leftists deep down know that the coup avoided the equivalent of today’s Venezuela. Or perhaps Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez missed the day in class when that unit was taught. Maybe someone should ask her about it. Surely there’s more comic relief to be had from her moment on the public stage.