So I finally watched that famous video of Trump saying USA will never be a socialist country. The only one not clapping is Bernie Sanders.
It's important to know that Trump is LYING about Venezuela in variety of ways, which I will explain below.
Trump basically states that Venezuela was the richest country in the world which was destroyed by socialist policies.
If we look at Venezuela from the POV of its oil reserves, Venezuela indeed was ( and still is) one of the richest countries in the world.
But that wealth from the ground has to be translated into the well being of citizens, or the metric is useless.
Venezeula has been founded as a Spanish colony in the 16th century. In 1811 it gained independence from Spain.
But, very much like in the USA, the families that were in charge of Venezuela for majority of its independent existance were descended from the white settlers, while the indigenous people and descendents of slaves brought from Africa to work on the plantations lived in poverty.
In 1914 oil was discovered in Venezula which opened an entire new chapter for the country... or rather the white elites.
Two things happened: the elites got very rich and the elites got entangled with U.S. interests to such an extent that some considered it a U.S. "colony."
Yet CAPITALIST, quasi colonial Venezuela was not a successful country. It suffered many economic crisis. It never diversified production, was too dependent on oil, had to IMPORT food! It had high levels of "poverty,""extreme poverty" and illiteracy, ESPECIALLY among non-whites.
The white elites were to some extent immune from the ups and downs of the economy. Their wealth and close association with America made it possible for them to benefit from best American education and thrive in the USA. They own mansions in Caracas and apartments in Miami.
So, as you can see, the first part of Trump's statement, that Venezuela was a rich country when Chavez won the elections in 1998, is a HUGE LIE, unless we solely mean oi l& elites.
Now to the second part, was it Chavez''s and Maduro's "socialist policies" that made things worse?
First of all, I might shock you here, but I don't believe that it is even fair to consider Chavez and Maduro as being ever trully in power in Venezuela. I was so propagandized myself that until the most recent coup I believed they were 100% in charge implementing socialism.
First of all, Chavez didn't nationalize the oil industry, it was already done decades before he won the election in 1998. It was always plagued by mismanagement and corruption.
Secondly, 2/3rd of country wealth remained in the hands of small very rich elite.
That opposition/elite's goal from day one was to kill Chavez as it is now to kill Maduro. They are not shy about it, you can look it up. They are not only very wealthy, but they have U.S. on their side. Look at this BBC documentary about the 2002 coup.
Imagine trying to rule a country in such conditions! Very powerful opposition wants your head but your hands are practically tied as far as even retributions for the coups, because you can't give the U.S. a pretext to bomb your people.
Nevertheless Chavez tried and he initially had some success improving living conditions, education, healthcare and the lives of the "poor" and the "very poor" were improved. These were the actual Chavez's "socialist policies"and they were very successful.
Where he was NOT successful had nothing to do with socialism. Like his predecestors, Chavez failed to diversify Venezuelan economy and make if food-independent and the management of the oil industry remained corrupt.
When Maduro became president in 2013 the west considered him a dictator since day one, despite the fact that he won an election that was deeped legal by observers. The price of oil fell (some say was artificially dropped in order to break Maduro).
This was followed by sanctions, blocade, remotely orchestrated power outgage, constant threat of death to Maduro and a promise to end persecution if Venezuelans agree to U.S. puppet government. Somewhere along the line Maduro crossed the authoritarian line, but can you blame him?
Maybe you and I would have done better than Maduro, although we probably would have been already dead if we wanted to continue being "democratic" in face of blatant fascism of the opposition.
At any rate, what happened in Venezuela has almost ZERO to do with SOCIALISM.
So it's not only the fact that Trump pretends, in that very speech, that what Bernie is proposing are "socialist policies" of Chavez&Maduro, when in fact Bernie's policies are solidly Western European, Canadian, Australian policies, it's that Trump is lying about Venezuela too.
I believe at least those who consider themselves on the left have to get busy educating our friends on Venezuela, because it is going to be used against us in the general and that lie that Venezuela failed because it was/is socialist needs to be exposed. #TheEnd
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