When Hugo Chavez turned Venezuela into a socialist state, he started with the oil industry. The entirety of the economic collapse, the ruination of people, the destruction of a state, the misery, sorrow, violence and death – all of it was completely avoidable and predictable.
In 2007, leftists around the world rejoiced when the strongman ordered a government takeover of the industry to fund government handouts and more welfare programs.
Socialist scholar Noam Chomsky praised Chavez. Progressive author David Sirota called it an “economic miracle.” Scores of Hollywood A-listers jetted to Venezuela for photo-ops. Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Danny Glover all stood with Chavez and bashed America.
Chavez fired thousands of oil employees, executives and workers, replacing them with 80,000 political operatives. When Chavez threatened foreign corporations, they abandoned Venezuela, taking billions of dollars in investment with them. Big Socialism failed to produce the same amount of oil for the same cost, and Venezuela’s economy began its inevitable collapse.
Chavez also seized control of the power companies. The consequences there were similar: The public transportation system collapsed last year. Those who have a vehicle wait hours to fill the tanks. Fuel shortages are rampant. The current Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, blames the Trump administration, but as the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela should be able to produce energy for its own citizens. After all, the state-run oil company has 80,000 employees.
Power outages are now commonplace, as is power rationing. Without a stable electric grid, what remains of Venezuela’s agriculture, manufacturing and business sectors are on the path to ruin. The little food that is produced cannot make it to market. Goods and services cannot be sold.
It is not surprising that more than 3 million Venezuelans have fled the nation. Food and water are basic needs, but without energy to run the economy, Venezuela may as well be a post-apocalyptic society in a zombie movie.
Fast forward to the present day. The average citizen of Venezuela has lost 19 pounds from malnutrition. Starving people are eating zoo animals. With inflation running 42,000 percent, a dozen eggs cost $29,000. If you’re hoping to buy a chicken to lay these “golden” eggs, you’ll have to save over $14 million.
The entirety of the economic collapse, the ruination of people, the destruction of a state, the misery, sorrow, violence and death – all of it was completely avoidable and predictable.
Sadly, Venezuela-style brownouts are becoming more common worldwide because politicians are embracing the socialist tendencies of green politics. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball was voted out of office when his “green energy” vision caused blackouts throughout the nation. Germany has regular blackouts because green energy cannot power the grid. An unstable supply of energy to the grid has caused brownouts in California. In New England, which is embracing green energy at the cost of fossil fuels, the future looks precarious.
Chavez called oil companies greedy polluters in order to get elected. His intentions sounded noble, but as is always the case with socialism, the true motives and resulting consequences were equally dismal.
Here in America, socialist politicians want to follow the same playbook to take over the energy industry in the name of fighting climate change. Nationalizing the energy industry, whether it’s in the name of the people or the environment, will always lead to the same outcome: misery.
Politicians like to attack “big oil.” Little praise is ever offered to the energy industry or its ability to find sludge miles underground, extract it responsibly, refine it, and get it to your local gas station for less than the price of bottled water.
Energy has made life in America so inexpensive that big oil hater Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., owns multiple homes and charters private jets. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., author of the socialist Green New Deal, has yet to acknowledge that abundant domestic oil provides the infrastructure that allows her oil-bashing Instagram videos to go viral.