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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Commentary Magazine: Opinion: Ben Cohen: Venezuela on The Brink

Commentary Magazine: Opinion: Ben Cohen: Venezuela on The Brink

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I guess Venezuela at its best would be like Scandinavia where you would have a mid-size country or so of twenty-five million people who is not only energy independent, but a net-exporter of oil, gas, food and other resources that we all use. Social democracy is not my preferred system as a Liberal, but that type of government and economy could work very well in a country like Venezuela. Because of its natural resources and that with an educated society they would be able to afford a large welfare state for the country. Now I guess that would be Venezuela’s utopia as a developed country.

But the Venezuela of today is Hugo Chavez’s Neo-Communist Cuba inside of Venezuela. But not as bad, because Venezuela still has multi-party elections both for their National Assembly and presidency. And this is not 1959 Cuba where the central government nationalizes all sorts of different industries in the country. They’ve nationalized a few, but there is still a good deal of private enterprise in Venezuela. Which was essentially gone in Cuba by the early 1960s or so as the Marxists took over there. What you have in Venezuela is a country that is trying to develop socialist system through the welfare state financed by their energy sector, as well as private enterprise. But where political and personal freedom is very limited.

A country like that with that type of system that is heavily dependent on their energy sector and then treats its political opposition as the enemy even though they are peaceful and not armed rebels, doesn’t tend to succeed. Because the economy will only do well when the energy sector is doing well. When oil and gas prices are high and there’s a big need for that energy especially in other countries. And then add in economic sanctions coming from developed countries because of your bad human rights records just makes your economic problems even worst. What Venezuela should be doing is developing their entire country and not be so dependent on one sector. Regardless of type of political system and human rights record that they have.

Again I guess the dream for Venezuela would be Scandinavia. A social democracy with a social democratic economic system and political system. Where they use the energy sector not to power the entire economy, but resources from it to develop the rest of the country economically. Infrastructure, education, health care, the business sector, technology, things that all developed countries have. Not to try to just finance the current regime and eliminate the opposition so you can stay in power indefinitely even if the rest of the country suffers as a result.