Venezuela is in the state of chaos- riots, protest, people starving, and even the military has no food. The longtime socialist stronghold on the country has brought a once steady and beautiful country to an anarchic state. This “Democratic Socialist” country is not only a great case study showing the dangers of socialism but also the dangers of a weak opposition.
Picture this, the US Presidential election where instead of Hillary vs Trump, is Hillary vs Bernie. That is exactly what Venezuela has been going through the last few decades. In the 2006 Venezuela Presidential election, Hugo Chavez was running against Manuel Rosales. While Chavez ran a campaign on socialism, Rosales ran a campaign on… you guessed it, socialism. Rosales, a self-described democratic socialist, ran a campaign of taxing the rich, government subsidies, generous unemployment, land redistributions, and of course social justice.
Then there was Henrique Capriles Radonski, the primary 2012 opponent to Hugo Chavez. As Venezuela is showing the start of a weakening economy and investment, one would expect that the faithful opposition would attempt to make a change away from socialism and towards the riches of capitalism. On the contrary, the opposition to Chavez was an individual who closely resembled all the policies Chavez stood for including massive government welfare projects knows as “missions”. These missions controlled and implemented state run welfare which included subsidized or free health care, dental care, food, housing, and social justice education. Capriles not only promised to maintain these socialist programs, but increase their funding. These programs would continue to exist by the massive taxation of the rich, killing the job creators and destroying the ingenuity and drive of the poor it seeks to help.
In addition to the pathetic opponents to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, the party of Chavez and Maduro, other moderate right wing parties have been forced to merge with other major liberal parties while drowning out their own voice. As a result, the opposition does not focus on ending socialism, but ending the other party. Since the opposition includes a vast number of political ideologies, any candidate or policies are socialist in nature with a focus on social justice; a very weak opposition for the socialist dictator ruining the country.
What is the solution to this cycle destroying Venezuela? Perhaps the people will unite and realize they are voting for one in the same. Their options continue to be for a socialist Venezuela or… a socialist Venezuela. It’s time for them to stop voting for two sides of the same coin and find a different coin.