Socialist Venezuela, the "sea of happiness" whose system was touted by Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Joe Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, Cindy Sheehan, and others, is losing its people. A lot of people. The nation of nominally 28 million people has now seen as many as four million flee for their lives, unable to stand all that "sea of happiness."
That's one out of seven Venezuelans, a figure even worse than the one out of ten who have fled Castro's Cuban island hellhole for the exact same reason: socialism. The Venezuelan human waves are just beginning. And it's going to get a lot worse. It's time to start thinking about what can be done about this disaster.
The Post compares the Venezuelan refugee exodus to Europe's 2015 mass migration of Syrian refugees and 2017's Rohingya exodus from Burma. In reality, it's bigger, because it's connected to Latin America's other two refugee crises cited by the Post: the millions of Cubans who fled Cuba's socialism through the 1960s, 1980s, and present day, and the million refugees from El Salvador, whose crisis was brought on by Cuban-backed communist guerrillas. Venezuela, which is Cuban-run, is now seeing its own human waves outward for the same reasons. Same socialism, different horror.
The Washington Post describes how desperate Venezuelans are now "pouring out" of that explicitly socialist paradise and have now turned up on sidewalks, in parks, and in cheap motels in neighboring Colombia, as well as nearly every nation in Latin America not bearing a socialist label.
Chile has seen the highest percentage increase of more than 1,000%, according to the Post. Colombia, the country next door, and hardly one that can offer vast welfare packages, has seen the highest absolute numbers, at least 600,000, with only 150,000 in the country legally.
The fact that these Venezuelans are going to Colombia instead of the distant U.S., as Central America's migrants are doing now, is a sign that they are real refugees, not economic migrants.
Real refugees take any port in a storm, including a relatively poor country as a first country of asylum. Real refugees suffer not just economic privation but political persecution, which is part and parcel of socialism.
Venezuelans are imprisoned and tortured for dissident views, as the Post reports. Their leaders are barred from running for office. They themselves are terrorized by government motorcycle gangs, which control their food ration cards and demand votes for the ruling party as conditions for getting them. They are punished through the withdrawal of food from their shelves if they criticize the president.
Their vote is not secret. Cubans control their identification card system. Elections, since at least 2004, (when Jimmy Carter naively certified as free and fair a recall referendum), have borne heavy signs of fraud.
It's not just wanting a better economic situation that is driving them out. Even on the economic front, the problems are political, because socialism is the politicization of markets - with businesses expropriated at the direction of central planners, homes burned out by government goons, price controls leading to inevitable shortage, and workers fired for not voting the party line. But, being impoverished by socialism's worthless money, Colombia is as far as fleeing Venezuelans can get.
What the official fails to understand is that socialism is war against people, every bit as bad as physical war. The final days of the Soviet Union, where Aleksander Solzhenitsyn spoke of the corrosive exhaustion of the system, made for the same agony and trauma that Venezuelans are now enduring. Socialism mobilizes people for war, constantly, and its countries even look like war zones. And every one of these hellholes experiences millions of people fleeing for their lives, at least until the doors are bolted shut, which may happen in Venezuela, too.
The Post deserves some credit for reporting this, because the downstream media, such as television, which take their cue from what's in the papers, aren't picking these stories up. Hot Air's John Sexton rightly notes that the silence is there out of the domestic left's embarrassment about the real impact of socialism. The Post could do better by including the word "socialism" in its reportage, but at least they are expending the time and high expense of reporting such stories. All the same, they lose the meaning of their stories by not singling out socialism.
That they are not, and the broader media is silent, is a problem, because our Millennial generation here largely thinks socialism is preferable to capitalism.
In the foreign policy circles, the talk is all about how to provide for the refugees instead of strike at the root of why people choose to become refugees in the first place, which is socialism, and the brutal regime that is driving one out of seven of its citizens from their homeland. Until the socialist roots of this nightmare are adequately exposed in a Nuremburg-style discrediting, the refugee flood will all be just a big bill for the U.S. and Latin American taxpayers and a subsidy to the Venezuelan socialist ruling class running this country into the ground.