It is now over sixty years since Fidel Castro overthrew a dictator in Cuba and installed his version of dictatorship which he termed. “communist.” Fidel promised the people of Latin America that “communism” would rid the continent of hated “Yankees” and herald the arrival of a new democratic way of life in which oligarchs and imperialists would no longer control the nation. He found a fervent admirer in Hugo Chavez, the leader of Venezuela. Chavez is now dead and his disciple, Nicolas Maduro still is trapped in an ideology that long since has meant anything resembling the truth. Venezuela has oil and it has used oil income to support an ineffective economic structure that no longer functions to meet basic needs. Pedro Perez, a 64 year old man, noted, “I spend five or six hours in a queue just to buy two packs of flour or two bottles of cooking oil.”
Such is life in Venezuela. Thousands now protest in the streets demanding an economic structure based on sound principles that can restore vitality to their economic lives. Maduro responds with brutal force and sends to prison those opposing his regime. In the last election, Maduro won by less than one percent of the vote, but he insists “Venezuelans” support his policies. Violence is escalating and there will be more dead or in jail. A touch of reality is needed in Venezuela.