Monday, March 26, 2007

Marching Straight to Ruin

Hugo Chavez continues to make good on his promise to destroy Venezuela by making it the exemplar of "21st Century Socialism."

Venezuela's government has seized more than 330,000 hectares (815,450 acres) of land to redistribute them under an agrarian reform programme.

President Hugo Chavez said 16 farms - which he described as large and unproductive - had been expropriated.

His government was moving towards a "collective property" policy as part of its "drive towards socialism", he said.

Critics say land reform has failed so far to revive the agricultural sector and end dependence on food imports.

The siezure and redistribution of agricultural lands under various pretexts has a long history under leftist governments. But it has one consistent outcome: failure. For a perfect example, see Zimbabwe's recent debacle, which have succeeded in transforming one of Africa's most abundant food producing nations into one on the verge of starvation. There is also the instructive, if depressing case of Soviet agriculture, but lessons of the past are lost on "revolutionary socialists" like Chavez. Actually, in the twisted power calculus of socialism, the misery created by the inevitable food shortages will work in Chavez's short term favor, as he blames a conspiracy by Venezuela's enemies for the disaster, and uses popular anger to sieze even more power.

Mr Chavez announced the latest round of land seizures during his TV and radio programme Hello, President.

"From today [Sunday] this becomes social property to satisfy the needs of the people," he said, speaking from one of the seized farms in the state of Barinas.

Another 13 farms would be expropriated in the coming weeks, Mr Chavez added.

He said the land would be used for cattle production.

In the past five years, almost 2m hectares have been seized after being declared unproductive or because the owners did not have the property documents in order.

Soon everything in Venezuela will be declared "social property," which means owned by the state. Of course, Mr. Chavez has already made sure that he can be "elected" president indefinitely, and now rules by decree, so in fact, Hugo Chavez is, for all practical purposes, the state. Rather like his good friend, Fidel Castro. Naturally, once property rights are eliminated and everything is the property of the state, human rights disappear as well, since their can be no resistance to the state without private property. Ultimately, in a socialist economy, the people become the property of the state as well, and are treated just as well. Chavez is marching confidently down that road.

But Hugo Chavez didn't come to power at the point of a gun, or in some revolutionary coup. He is the proud product of Venezuelan democracy, and he never hid his agenda from the electorate. Millions of Venezuelans heard what he said and, ignoring the last century of socialist disasters, voted him merrily into office.

Mr Chavez, who was re-elected with a large majority last year, has pledged to turn Venezuela into a socialist state.

So much for President Bush's idea that democracy cures all problems. Ditto for the egregious foreign policy he constructed around that erroneous idea, and the disasters that it has produced.

Ultimately, people get the government they deserve. That applies in Venezuela ... and in the United States, too.


At 12:57 AM , Anonymous tommy said...

Events like this ought to make citizens of our country think very hard about the influx of Latin Americans to the U.S. and what it will mean for our political environment down the line. Do we really want to have to contend with Latin American populism and socialism in our country in decades ahead? Can't we see that those traditional Anglo-American values of individualism, self-reliance, and personal responsibility carry little weight south of the border? Isn't it obvious that even Latin America's model of conservatism hasn't much in common with the Anglo-American version of conservatism?


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