FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Hugo Chavez Still Haunts Venezuela
The Dog is Dead But The Fleas Are Still Biting People
Image Credit: The Economist Magazine.
To understand why Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 11 Principles of Progressivism might as well have come chapter and verse from one of Anton LeVay’s Satanic Bibles, it helps to look at what life is like in a place that is governed by an unabashed cleric of the Progressive Religion. Venezuela bore the weight of living under Hugo Chavez from 1999 to 2013. No place in either of the Americas practiced a purer form of Progressive Fundamentalism. Venezuela has yet to recant under Chavez’s hand-picked successor.
Now if Progressivism were to bring about a veritable Garden of Earthly Delights without the rest of the Boschian Tryptich then Venezuela could declare itself a big, happy national Disney World of fulfilled good intentions. The road paved with those intentions leads somewhere less pleasant than Orlando, FL. Life in Venezuela has declined to a nearly unbearable plateau. As the going has gotten tough, the smart and resourceful have gotten going. For those still remaining in Hugo World, an old John Wayne line has become a lamentable truism. ”Life is tough. It’s tougher if you are stupid.”
For the delightfully enlightened and Progressive Venezuelans life has gotten tough to the point that even things that worked before work no longer. A prime example of this is the Venezuelan State Oil Company (PDVSA). This enterprise used to provide a vast source of wealth and prosperity that could support many of the welfare items that showed up on Chavez’s agenda. However, then Hugo Chavez fired 18,000 employees from the company on an evil whim in 2003.
In the decade after Layoff-Day at PDVSA, a strange string of coincidences began to occur. The Economist Magazine tells a tale that should warn any intelligent observer that the wages of Progressivism are not progress but decline. Many of the 18,000 people that Hugo Chavez had fired went elsewhere. The Alberta Oil Sands now boast many more qualified petroleum engineers than they did before.
But thousands went abroad—to the United States, Mexico and the Persian Gulf, and to farther-flung places like Malaysia and Kazakhstan. Many headed to Alberta, in Canada, where the tar sands yield a residue that is similar to the heavy oil from the Orinoco belt, which Venezuela is struggling to develop. There were 465 Venezuelans in Alberta in 2001; by 2011 there were 3,860.
The impact on Venezuela was the mirror image opposite. All the good things that happened in other countries when the qualified professionals at PDVSA got sent into exile were inverted into afflictions for the Venezuelans.
The Centre for Energy Orientation, a Venezuelan NGO, says the number of incapacitating injuries due to accidents at PDVSA rose from 1.8 per million man-hours in 2002 to 6.2 in 2012. At Pemex, Mexico’s state oil firm, the rate was 0.6 in 2012.
So Hugo Chavez felt good when he chased out all the rich plutocrats who worked in the oil industry. His company has barely treaded water since, while Columbian oil production has skyrocketed. (Image atop the post). This is what The Progressive Heresy of The Marxian Religion has done for Venezuela. It would do similarly awful things to the United States if we continue electing Left Wing Democrats to The White House.