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Friday, February 20, 2015

Paranoia and Politics in Venezuela

  Imagine the president of the United States ordering the arrest and detention of the mayor of New York City after the mayor criticizes federal policies. Meanwhile, the head of the Republican Party and a presidential hopeful sits for months in a military prison outside Washington, D.C. on trumped up charges of insurrection and treason.
  That's pretty much what has happened in Venezuela, as President Nicolás Maduro, the hand-picked but famously incompetent successor to Hugo Chávez, scrambles to distract his nation's attention from the economic disaster of centralized socialist policies and tumbling world oil prices.
  Chávez was bad enough, his megalomania and hubris taking Venezuela down a road of Cuba-style socialism which was no less corrupt and no less inefficient than the corrupt and inefficient liberal democracy it replaced.
  Maduro's administration is propped up by what is essentially a military and secret-police state, and his use of thugs and civilian storm troups to terrorize, kill, jail and harass his opponents will come to no good in the end.
  Venezuela continues to be moving toward increasing violence and unrest. The deaths of dozens a year ago in anti-government protests was just the canary in the mine shaft.

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