"Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro." (Sean Penn, March 5, 2013.)
To say nothing of the “proven” –and particularly, the enduring--”leadership” of Maduro’s colonial overlords in Havana, of whom Sean Penn is also extremely fond. “I had the privilege to introduce my children to comandante Fidel Castro!” (Sean Penn, arm in arm with “great friend” Hugo Chavez, Caracas Feb. 13, 2012.)
Protests rocked Venezuela this week. Hundreds of Venezuelans were arrested by Cuban-trained police and at least three were shot dead by Cuban-trained paramilitary storm-troopers. As we go to press Caracas is under a military clampdown with government troops guarding most public buildings and patrolling the streets.
In brief Venezuelans have had it with the corruption, shortages, censorship, 56% inflation rate, crime and general privations brought on by the late Hugo Chavez’ “Bolivarian Revolution,” especially as implemented by Chavez’ successor Nicholas Maduro, who won last October’s elections--most non-Hollywood observers believe—by stealing them.
Now Maduro and his cronies are stealing the country blind. It’s all under the guise of something the Chavistas call “21th Century Socialism,” mind you. But it still amounts to the government stealing businesses and replacing the owners and managers with vengeful, bumbling and rapacious government hacks. So the results exactly mimic those of old-fogey 20th century socialism. Here’s a nation sitting atop the world’s largest oil reserves and earning $100 BILLION in oil revenues annually—while its citizens can’t find toilet paper in any stores.
But no matter how hard daily life becomes for Venezuelans, no matter how menacingly looms the prospect of national bankruptcy, no matter how drastically oil production drops--President Maduro keeps shipping 100,000 barrels of oil to Castro’s Cuba daily. Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba last year were estimated to total $10 billion. That’s more than double what the Soviets used to send.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.