News and Commentary

WATCH: Campus Reform Talks To Venezuelan Expats About The Danger Of Socialism

On Wednesday, Campus Reform uploaded a new video in which Cabot Phillips speaks with Venezuelan expat protesters about their experience with socialism.

Phillips asked: “What would be your message to young people that think socialism would be a good idea here in America?”

Here are some of the responses:

“Look yourself in the mirror of Venezuela and Cuba. You do not ever want anyone, not even close to socialism, to come to this country. … Bernie Sanders [is] your enemy. Do not ever ever, ever get involved with this individual or any of the other socialists.”

“People are eating from trash bags in the streets. So, how has socialism actually helped the country? … It’s this big lie to people who are disadvantaged, and it just actually makes them worse off.”

“From the perspective of people who have lived through failed socialism, it’s very hard to accomplish.”

“Yeah, I don’t think any Venezuelan can really like socialism because we’ve seen it put in place very well. … We also thought that this could never happen in our country. We had a balance of powers, we had democracy, and we elected our leaders.”

“It is not a game, it is not the route to go, it is not possible, it is not feasible. Don’t fall for it. … People always talk about the nazis and stuff like that, but nobody talks about the socialists and communism. It has killed probably more people than nazis did.”

“It doesn’t work the way the book says it works because we’re humans and we have imperfections and socialism is too perfect to be true.”

“Check your history; look at the news; look at all the countries that have failed under a socialist government – like Cuba, like Venezuela.”

Several expats talked about the way in which the Trump administration is navigating the situation in Venezuela:

“It means a lot to me that this administration is doing something more than just sanctions and just words.”

“The people from Venezuela, we are very grateful with the United States, with this beautiful country because they give you all the support right now in this critical situation.”

“Everyone’s trying to paint it as if this is a U.S.-led thing, and it’s – for me, it’s kind of an insult to the Venezuelan people who have been protesting for years. It’s an insult to their agency.”

Others spoke of the difficulty of leaving everything behind, and how socialism has destroyed their home country:

“I was born and raised in Venezuela; my parents are still in Venezuela, and I have seen the country basically just deteriorate.”

“I left my home country 20 years ago because of this, and it’s a gradual process over time. Little by little, power is taken away from the people.”

One man praised the United States, noting that we didn’t get to where we are with socialism:

“This a beautiful country; it’s the best of the world; it’s the most powerful, and we didn’t get there with socialism or anything close to that.”

Check out the video here:

Venezuela is in the midst of an historic upheaval, as self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has mobilized the nation’s anguished people.

Socialist Nicolás Maduro won the May 2018 election to serve a second six-year term as president. However, many believe the election was “rigged,” reports The New York Times, in part because the “electoral authorities banned the largest opposition political parties from taking part in the election, and key politicians were barred from running.”

On January 23, Guaido, who is the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, invoked constitutional rules to declare himself interim president of Venezuela.

According to EuroNews:

Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution states that “when the president-elect is absolutely absent before taking office, a new election shall take place (…) And while the president is elected and takes office, the interim president shall be the president of the National Assembly.”

Multiple nations have recognized Guaido’s declared position, including the United States, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Germany, France, Columbia, Canada, Britain, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, and others. China and Russia back Nicolás Maduro.

In a statement released on January 23, President Trump said that he was “officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela.”

The statement continued:

In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant. The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.

I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy. We encourage other Western Hemisphere governments to recognize National Assembly President Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela, and we will work constructively with them in support of his efforts to restore constitutional legitimacy. We continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people. As Interim President Guaido noted yesterday: “Violence is the usurper’s weapon; we only have one clear action: to remain united and firm for a democratic and free Venezuela.”

Venezuela’s fate is uncertain, but the recognition of Juan Guaido by many western nations may serve to embolden the people and weaken Maduro’s strangle-hold on the government.