Nowadays, Venezuela is a hell on earth. And it's not just the authoritarianism of the rulers, the runaway inflation, the corruption of the institutions, and the unrestrained violence of both the organized crime of the state and the common delinquency that has made Venezuela the country with the highest homicide rate in the world.
The Fever Dream of Socialism
They declare themselves to be at the forefront of humanism, while also threatening to censor the Internet
Venezuela is a hell mainly because the very logic of reality has collapsed into some kind of feverish dream. It’s a delirium where the political leaders talk about "the homeland" and "the potency" of a country that is en route to the poverty levels of Hati, despite having the largest oil reserves in the entire world, over 300 billion barrels.
The political class seems hypnotized by an alternative reality where they brag about official “foreign investment” tours to Algeria. Immediately after, they proclaim an "economic revolution" while the Bolivar drowns in hyperinflation with no solution in sight. Where they declare themselves to be at the forefront of humanism, while also threatening to censor the Internet in order to prevent an attack on the “Empire.”
Meanwhile, the freedom riders of the mainstream opposition—the Board of Democratic Unity, known by its Spanish acronym MUD—are sleeping as well, dreaming about negotiations with Nicolás Maduro, imagining a democratic transition and a Venezuela where they are the ones who manage the socialism so that this time may work.
Dreaming a Dream Ignores Reality
The case of Venezuela is a tragedy, but not a surprise. It is the same old nightmare that repeats itself every time radical socialists take over a country. So, the inevitable questions are: Why has this system, which accumulates such tragic results around the planet, retained some intellectual patina and cultural appreciation? Why are the left-wing socialists not nearly as justifiably despised as their national socialist cousins?
They mixed the old Marxist-like rhetoric with a local nationalism to create a "Socialism for the 21st Century."
Well, the answer is a dream.
Especially after the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union, in the late 80s and early 90s, the intellectuals and political crooks who had made a living out of Marxist socialism crashed head first into a reality that completely demolished their long-held dream of a worldwide class struggle, Leninist style. They found themselves on an alley with two ways out: either to recognize that they were wrong, as some of them indeed chose; or to flee for refuge in the land of fantasy. The second is what most of them did.
On the aftermath of its defeat in the Cold War, the leftist intelligentsia focused on rebranding their product, adding new bells and whistles. In the First World, they adapted it to the progressive agenda. In South America, the strategy was a little different. They mixed the old Marxist-like rhetoric with a local nationalism to create a "Socialism for the 21st Century."
Meanwhile, every time somebody exposes them for the failure of their old Soviet idols, they run into the valleys of Utopia, demanding that which the late Eduardo Galeano defined as the "Right to Dream," using the oneiric beauty as a refuge from the trauma created by the fall of communism.
That beautiful dream has revealed itself as a hellish nightmare.
With that dream, they entered the politics of Venezuela. With that dream, they convinced the majority of the population, which enthusiastically voted for Hugo Chávez. With that dream, they lavished praise upon the regime, starting with Galeano himself, who called the Bolivarian Venezuela as a triumph of those that had always been "invisible" and, of course, Noam Chomsky, who vouched for the regime’s climate of "full democracy" while promoting Chávez as a builder of that other “possible world;” that is, the dream.
That beautiful dream has revealed itself as a hellish nightmare in which more than 10 percent of Venezuela's population has already fled (4 million emigrants, out of a nation of 31 million people). This exodus has turned into a humanitarian crisis in the region, seasoned with Dantesque scenes of scarcity, repression, and cynicism at the hands of a ruling mob that is still dreaming with the bubbles of good champagne.
Lost in a Fantasy World
Meanwhile, what about the intellectuals? Well, some are playing the fool. And others, like Chomsky, make a hurried condemnation of what they once cheered, only to jump a second later into the next fantasy because, after all, for them, life is a dream, and all is fair on the journey toward Utopia, all the while disguising their basic instincts as supposedly high ideals.
No, the real delirium is what the people of Venezuela suffer every day.
"Let's be delirious for a while. The world, which is upside down, will stand on its feet" is the posthumous justification from the pen of Don Eduardo. However, his claim will be forever in vain because the crime is not to dream or to be delirious but to package and sell utopias to the tyrants of the world so that they may impose them on the backs and souls of millions of victims.
No, the real delirium is what the people of Venezuela suffer every day, paying with inflation, violence, and hopelessness for the consequence of their credulity in the socialist fantasy, which once again proves to be a dream for the crooks and hell for everyone else.