As the Independence Day holiday week comes to a close, Americans reveled in their usual pastimes of baseball, cookouts, and fireworks. Such is not the case for another independence celebration this week – that of Venezuela. And the difference between how the two holidays were celebrated could hardly be more profound.
As Venezuelans celebrated their independence on July 5th, a pro-government mob stormed the Venezuelan National Assembly, attacking legislators with pipes and clubs. Venezuela’s Congress, the only governmental body under opposition control, has been critical of President Maduro and his policies, which have led Venezuela into economic crisis.
For months, Venezuelans have protested the rampant shortages of food and necessities. The governmental response has been brutal, and at least 90 people have died, with scores more injured. Not all Venezuelan’s however, support the opposition.
On the morning of the 5th, Maduro supporters surrounding the National Assembly building. Many were dressed in red and shouted, “Long Live the Revolution” while others brandished pistols and threatened to cut off power and water to the building. An audio recording of former President Hugo Chavez shouting “Tremble, oligarchy” was played, Reuters reports.
More than 350 legislators, journalists, and guests of the special Independence Day congressional session were effectively under siege, and several dozen Maduro-supporters eventually assaulted the Congress with pipes, sticks, and stones. Seven opposition politicians were injured, the worst of which, America De Grazia, was knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital. He is no longer in critical condition.
Liberty Nation has provided an in-depth primer on the socialist hell-scape that is Venezuela. The socialist government has driven the once prosperous Petrostate to the point of economic oblivion. The South American OPEC nation, which once had the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world (1950) currently has the world’s highest inflation rate of 741% (topping out at 800% in 2016) and months of protests have led to an attempt by Maduro to rewrite the constitution in his favor.
President Maduro has postponed and canceled multiple elections which would see his government lose power, and has now called for a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution. This assembly is expected to be elected in late July. The opposition suggests that not only is the forming of this assembly illegal (as first there must be a referendum to determine if the people WANT a new constitution), but it is rigged to support the ruling party.
Maduro detractors believe that he intends to secure power permanently though this new constitution and that the socialist president is, in reality, a dictator. They have promised a boycott of the Constituent Assembly vote.
Venezuela stands as a prime example of the dangers of Socialism. Revolutionary leaders do not care about the people; they care about power. That power must be maintained. When the revolution “seizes the means of production,” the power remains in the hands of the state, not the people. Socialist revolutionaries are wolves in sheep’s clothing and consistently try to pacify the populace with social welfare programs while securing more and more power for themselves. When those programs falter, as we see in Venezuela, the government eschews the carrot in favor of the stick.
Therefore the U.S. must be wary of all things socialist and for good reason. So, it must be asked: Is this what we want for America?