Or how to become a megalomaniac and ruin your country.
Hugo Chávez is a charismatic leader. So is Fidel Castro, so were Hitler and Stalin. Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” is based on the concepts of redistribution of wealth and social welfare.
Step 1 – 1992 – Chávez the revolutionary led a failed military coup.
Step 2 – 1998 – Chávez the politician was legitimately elected president of Venezuela.
Step 3 – 2002 – Chávez the controversial president survived a coup attempt.
Step 4 – yesterday – the Venezuelan National Assembly took the first step towards giving Chávez the dictator the unchecked power to rule by decree for 18 months.
Of course it absolutely boggles my mind that any group of legislators would voluntarily give so much power to one person. And moreover, it’s not the first time they’ve done it. The Enabling Act of 2000 had allowed Chávez to rule by decree for one year. Obviously the whole country belongs in an insane asylum.
But what really caught my attention today were the plans that Chávez has for Venezuela. According to the Washington Post, Chávez has announced that he intends to “nationalize key sectors of the economy, rewrite the country’s constitution to eliminate presidential term limits, strip the Central Bank of its autonomy, and put an end to foreign ownership of lucrative crude oil refineries.”
That means that telecommunications, electricity and natural gas, as well as the mining sector, are all likely to be nationalised. Property is going to be stolen from private individuals as well as from foreign corporations. This all sounds familiar because we’ve already had the grand experiment of socialism, and it failed.
I guess politicians don’t pay attention to history. Controlled economies and nationalised enterprises did not work in Central and Eastern Europe and they are not going to work in South America. Chávez’s socialism cannot succeed and he is going to run his country into the ground. Tragic.