Venezuela seems headed for more misery

From the Washington PostFOR SEVERAL years Venezuela’s self-styled socialist government has been paying billions of dollars to Wall Street to avoid default on its staggering debts, even while starving its people of vital imports of food and medicine. Now that unlikely policy, one of the last ways in which the government of Nicolás Maduro distinguished itself from the world’s pariah regimes, appears to be crumbling. Last week, ratings agencies declared Venezuela and its state oil company to be in selective default, a step that could trigger a cascade of other judgments and send creditors …

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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.