Most Americans are aware of the political and social chaos that has engulfed Venezuela, but how often do we hear the horrifying details about what’s really going on in the collapsing socialist state? How often does the U.S. media promote American socialist politicians like Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders instead of showing what socialism actually looks like and the lives it destroys?
BBC News has published a compelling video that shows the destruction wrought by a six-day blackout on the country, as told by native Venezuelan and journalist Vladimir Hernandez.
“Without any power you can’t buy food. You can’t get fuel for a generator. Hospitals are struggling to keep on working,” Hernandez begins the video.
“It’s a country in darkness. People are dying.”
Text then appears in the video, reading, “This is what a blackout looks like. Venezuela’s had one for six days.”
Hernandez implores viewers to understand this isn’t just a story to him, it’s personal.
“This is a story that may go away for you as a viewer after you watch this. This is a story that doesn’t go away for me as a journalist,” he says. “It stays with me constantly because I’m incredibly worried for what’s going to happen to the people I know and my relatives in the country.”
“My family, as most Venezuelan families, is quite big.. So I’ve got quite a big spread of people in different parts of the country,” Hernandez says. “A lot of people I’m talking to regularly tell me about helplessness. They never thought it would come to this.”
“This is like the walking dead. This is like living in the apocalypse.”
“You can’t go to a cash machine. You can’t get on the internet. You cannot go to a shop and buy something you need,” Hernandez says.
Sick and dying children might be suffering the worst.
“I’ve been speaking to doctors in different hospitals and they tell me how much of a struggle it is to keep, for instance, intensive care equipment going,” Hernandez says, heartbreakingly.
“So children with intensive care equipment had to be switched off. But when I asked ‘What happens to them in the meantime?’ She was like, ‘Well, they are in the hands of God.'”
Hernandez says that part of the enduring stress of Venezuela’s collapse is that there is really no way to check on friends and relatives because “the mobile phone systems are down.”
How bad is it? No one really knows. “I still don’t think we know how deep of a problem it still is because some regions are virtually out of reach,” Hernandez says.
The video shows a woman stockpiling water and cooking whatever food she has immediately so it doesn’t go bad.
“The government is calling this a ‘cyber attack,'” Hernandez says, “but I think the widespread view is most likely Venezuela has been suffering from power shortages for at least 10 years and this is just the result of a huge infrastructure failing.”
Hernandez says this infrastructure problem is enduring and most of his countrymen don’t see an end in sight.
In 2017, native Venezuelan Andres Malave recounted similar horrors in his home country in an essay at Investor’s Business Daily:
“In practical terms, Venezuela’s misery means that it is not uncommon to see children rummaging through the garbage for food. And as basic medical supplies and medicine run dangerously low, newborns and the elderly die unattended in Venezuelan hospitals.”
“These heartbreaking scenes are difficult for anyone to bear, but for me, it’s personal,” Malave wrote. “I know many Venezuelans who held out hope that this ’21st Century’ form of socialism would turn out better than the 20th century version, but their dreams were quickly dashed.”
Today, prominent Democrats try selling a newer and better socialism to the American people. But there is no such thing. All socialism ends the same way, and it ends badly. We can’t just pretend the 20th century didn’t happen. We can’t pretend the current chaos in South America isn’t happening.
That we must learn from the mistakes of the past so we don’t repeat them is a cliche for a reason.
Just ask Venezuela.
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