It’s Time to Cut Off Venezuela’s Black Gold

The Daily BeastVenezuela is a country awash in oil and natural beauty, a young and enterprising country, a country with boundless potential. Yet today, it is a hellhole being crushed by a ruthless dictator.

State socialism has once again proven to be a colossal failure. Private businesses have been looted by the criminal Maduro regime. Once profitable businesses lie in ruins, as the ruling party’s cronies are given jobs in state-run enterprises. Mismanagement is therefore a core principal of this regime, trickling down throughout the heavily centralized crooked system. When graft is ubiquitous, the people suffer. And the Venezuelan people are suffering.

The medical system has now completely collapsed with every public hospital in the country suffering from woeful shortages of medicine, anesthetic, and any semblance of hygienic equipment. Women are forced to give birth in the streets or in stairwells of hospitals. HIV drugs are almost non-existent. Diarrhea has once again become a serious killer of children across Venezuela. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.