Answering Student Questions About Socialism in Venezuela by Miguel A. Faria, MD

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Frequently I receive inquiries from students in high school and college who ask questions or request interviews regarding papers I have published in Surgical Neurology International on both scientific and world affair subjects. The conversation and interview that follows is a good example that may be of interest to the readers who follow my writings. The introductory conversation is heavily edited; the interview is not.

Dear Dr Faria,
My name is  SM, and I am currently a junior at M.H. taking Intern/Mentor. In Intern/Mentor, students are able to research a topic that they are interested in throughout the course of the year while simultaneously participating in an internship. This year, I plan on studying the long-term economic effects of the Venezuelan crisis globally. Currently, I have collected research from various sources and scholarly journals, and I have synthesized a research question and hypothesis. I would appreciate it if you could use your experience to help provide useful insight for the following questions: I  have…Here are my questions: Thanks, S. M.

1. What factors do you think most contributed and impacted the decline of the Venezuelan economy?

The answer to this question is simple. Socialism caused the decline and veritable destruction of the Venezuelan economy, just as it did in Cuba and in every world economy where it has been tried. This happens because the industrious and the hard-working do not receive the fruits of their labors, but their wealth is redistributed by the State (wealth redistribution equals socialism) to the idle and parasitic elements in society, who prefer to live out of the labor of others. Why work hard when your wealth is taken from you and redistributed to others, and all live in misery? As a Russian at the time of Soviet communism said in a popular aphorism: “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”

2. Do you think the influx of Venezuelan migrants into neighboring Latin American and Caribbean countries have had a negative or positive impact on the economy and labor markets in those nations? Why do you think it had this impact?

It has had a mixed impact as in all type of migrations. Political emigrants, especially those escaping from socialist tyrannies as in Cuba and Venezuela, tend to have a greater proportion of professionals, like doctors, engineers and intellectuals, as well as skilled workers. Those types of migrants help the economies of the countries that receive them. But eventually socialism affects all classes, including all working people; and because of the lack of goods and services in socialist countries, as is happening in Venezuela today, everyone will also become impoverished. In time, the lowest workers, the unskilled laborers, migrate as well, and sometimes in much greater numbers. If the overflow is excessive, it may bring deleterious changes to countries receiving them simply because they cannot be integrated into the labor force fast enough, becoming refugees that the state must provide for via welfare and social services. Some with anti-social tendencies become full scale criminals. Nevertheless, as far as we can judge, the Venezuelan migrants, like many Cuban migrants before them, have a large proportion of good people who are willing to work and be assimilated in those countries that have taken them in, particularly the United States. These types of hard-working, motivated migrants, who are escaping socialist or communist tyrannies, end up enriching the countries that receive them. They become assimilated into the melting pots. For example, Miami and South Florida became a large and wealthy city and a prosperous state because of Cubans escaping communist tyranny; and it is now being enriched by new Venezuelan migrants, who also have a large proportion of professionals and skilled workers, as I have described.

We have discussed political refugees so far, those escaping socialist and communist tyrannies. Most common today are economic refugees, who are not being persecuted in their native countries, but merely seek jobs and a better way of life in another country. They just want to share in the wealth of their neighbors in other countries. These migrants are not escaping tyranny. These are the types of individuals leaving most of Central America and even Mexico today, trying to come to the US. These migrant groups include a high proportion of unskilled workers and even some criminal elements, including drug dealers and even terrorist elements, who would pour in ever greater numbers across borders if uncontrolled. We saw those caravans last year heading for the US that were finally stopped in their countries of origin or Mexico. These migrations must be controlled. Assimilation is not possible in uncontrolled illegal immigration as many of these economic emigrants tend to become a burden on society or criminals in the countries that receive them. Many recent refugees from El Salvador and Honduras have fallen unfortunately into this category, where they have formed criminal gangs throughout Central America, Mexico, and the United States.

Incidentally, since I used both terms, i.e., socialism and communism, I should explain that the difference between socialism and communism is only in degrees of severity in reaching collectivism. Both terms refer to a controlled economy and a loss of freedom. Socialism is collectivism, authoritarianism, wealth redistribution, and a controlled economy reached by seduction of the masses; communism is collectivism, totalitarianism, wealth redistribution, and a controlled economy attained and maintained by the power of force and the use of political (secret) police by the State. In fact, in their writings and speeches, Lenin, Stalin, and Fidel Castro used the terms interchangeably!

3. How has the political situation in Venezuela further contributed to the economic crisis?

As discussed under question #2 above, one cannot separate the economy from the political system. Socialistic and communistic countries do not believe or allow free enterprise capitalism. They become tyrannical governments or dictatorships as in Cuba and Venezuela. Therefore, the economy is controlled by the government; political freedoms such as civil rights, personal freedom, freedom of worship are curtailed, while atheism is promoted; free elections are prohibited and in fact an oligarchy (formally established in a Socialist or Communist Party) and a dictator rule by force. Likewise, all economic freedom is curtailed, so that the government controls, regulates, or outright owns everything — all businesses, means of transportation, media outlets, communication methods (radio, television, Internet content and access), and even housing, which is distributed by the State. This is what happened in Cuba and is happening today in Venezuela.

4. Do you think trade sanctions placed on Venezuela have affected the Venezuelan economy?

Yes, they have. Because socialist and dictatorial (tyrannical) governments control everything, those who receive the most benefits are members of the ruling socialist oligarchy, the army, and the police, who prop up the socialist regime — very little trickles down to the people. Therefore, sanctions disproportionally affect and have a much greater impact upon the ruling class sustaining the tyrannical government than on the ordinary people, who are miserable and must fend for themselves. The government of Venezuela keeps all the goods and throws the scraps to the people. Severe enough sanctions with lack of goods and equipment weakens the army and the police, promoting discontent that can foster much needed regime change. So the net effect of sanctions is that they are a good thing.

5. How has the Venezuelan crisis affected the global oil market? What effect has the crisis had on the global economy as a whole?

Global oil markets and prices were affected initially as described in Dr James I. Ausman’s paper in which both Dr. Russell Blaylock and I added commentaries. As for now, because must countries producing oil are free market economies, including the US, Britain, Mexico, and even the Arab states, they have made up for the Venezuelan oil deficit without any difficulty. So it is the Venezuelan people who are suffering, not the free people in other countries. This is always the case in socialist, collectivist, authoritarian systems. (I repeat these terms which have precise nuances of economic and political meanings for your benefit, to familiarize you with them.) When the government completely controls and owns all means of production, distribution and consumption of good and services and the people live in a police state, the terms most precisely describing these conditions are totalitarian or communist.

6. What do you think are possible solutions to improve or end the Venezuelan crisis? How long and how plausible would these solutions be?

The solutions are free elections and a free enterprise system. The best system of government from the time of Aristotle (4th century B.C.) to the present is a constitutional republic, like we have in the United States, that fosters innovation and freedom of choice and guarantees economic and political freedoms.

The Venezuelan regime is held in place with the assistance of the totalitarian governments of China, the Islamic Republic (really a dictatorial theocracy) of Iran, and Russia, which is a strategic rival to the US and the West at the present time, a legacy of the cold war. As long as the Venezuelan government continues to receive economic assistance from these nations, and the police and the army continue to get the best treatment and goods and services, the regime will continue to exist by force of arms. There is no way to know how long this will last. The Soviet Union lasted over 70 years, Cuba has lasted over 50 years. The Central and Eastern European communist regimes (Soviet Satellites) lasted over 4O years. The Venezuelan socialist regime is still evolving and getting worse. It has already lasted over 20 years. But perhaps it will reach a critical mass and implode soon, just as the evil Soviet empire did between 1989 and 1991.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck with your paper.
Sincerely,
Dr. Miguel A. Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He was appointed and served at the behest of President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002-2005. Dr. Faria is a Board Certified Neurological Surgeon  (American Association of Neurological Surgeons; retired); Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019). His website is https://haciendapublishing.com. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_A._Faria_Jr.

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Answering Student Questions About Socialism in Venezuela. HaciendaPublishing.com, December 14, 2020. Available from: https://haciendapublishing.com/answering-student-questions-about-socialism-in-venezuela-by-miguel-a-faria-md/

The photos used in this article came from a variety of sources and were added to illustrate the article for our readers at HaciendaPublishing.com.

Copyright ©2020 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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