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Culture

Dear American Socialists, This Is What Socialism Looks Like In Venezuela Every Day

By Julia Song·· 8 min read
empty grocery store in venezuela

The chaos that has recently descended on our country is unprecedented. Record high actions are being taken to avoid an economic depression, and government measures have been put in place to contain the spread of this new virus. However, because some of these measures are unconstitutional, citizens are left wondering if we’re as far from becoming Venezuela as we thought.

It started as panic, driven by the media, that caused supply shortages in grocery stores. I went twice to Walmart in one week and could not find any paper product available for purchase. The shelves were clear. For items in high demand, if you’re able to find them, they’re usually price-inflated due to the suppliers’ difficulty to match such demand.

But then things graduated to social distancing and other measures which caused many businesses to allow a limited amount of customers in their stores at one time, resulting in long lines in the parking lot and essentially making any social distancing effort to be ineffective.

Finally, the ever-increasing restrictive actions set forth by governors and local authorities not only caused unemployment and high inflation, which contributed to one’s ability to afford food, but additionally, by keeping restaurants and schools from opening, the supply ready to reach those businesses has nowhere to go, and farmers are being forced to dump dairy, for example. Meat factories are also closing, and there are no talks about when, exactly, we will be allowed to resume business as usual, increasing the fears of whether a mass food shortage could, in fact, be not that far in the future.

The panic that was induced in our country allowed us to easily accept government overreach without clear data or clarification on when these restrictions would be lifted.

Among the restrictions put in place by various local and state governments, the right of peaceful assembly, the ability to transit to your workplace to perform work functions not deemed essential, religious gatherings, various forms of commerce exchange and business operations, and even visiting family members have been outlawed as a preventive measure to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t overwhelm our medical systems.

The Consequences of COVID-19 Restrictions

What many U.S. citizens, especially those such as myself who have lived under Socialist governments, have noticed was the ability of this government to immediately turn our country into a tyrannical nightmare, threatening to use the National Guard in combination with law enforcement against its own people, while having no serious data to back their decisions. What’s worse, such measures, heightened by the media frenzy on reporting models that falsely predicted world catastrophe, have caused the population to turn on each other under the fears and pressures of possibly limited availability of resources.

The actual impact that these decisions have can immediately be felt by those we claim to want to protect: the most vulnerable, the elderly, impoverished minorities, households in need of welfare and/or single-parent households. In fact, one of the main characteristics of Socialism is the destruction of small businesses through overregulation, and this is exactly what we’re witnessing happen in our country, in front of our very own eyes.

One of the main characteristics of Socialism is the destruction of small businesses through overregulation, and this is exactly what we’re witnessing.

As the Senate unanimously passed a two trillion dollar economic relief bill that does very little for small and family business owners and the everyday individuals most impacted by these restrictions, we see millions of dollars being sent to raising the cost expenses of politicians, furthering policies that fit their agenda, and billions of dollars in corporate bail-outs. By basically holding the country hostage, we now have a bill that throws soil over the casket of small businesses and will initiate the era of big corporations, with companies such as Amazon and Walmart already reporting economic growth, while the rest of the country within the last few of weeks has seen 17 million Americans apply for unemployment benefits.

It’s not news that big corporations lobby and fund political campaigns, which have long put in question the ability of our politicians to serve the people versus corporate interests. As massive corporations grow, while also paying minimal taxes and receiving incentives from states to operate, we can safely assume that the government and these corporations will become, if they already aren’t, the same institution. And essentially, the very foundation which our country once stood upon, that of liberty, which includes financial liberty, will be taken from our hands, forcing us to become dependent on their will and commanded by a government that answers to special interests and isn’t interested in providing the people with the quality of life they deserve.

A Scary Step towards Socialism

How far we are from the ultimate reality of Venezuela is hard to tell. In fact, we may be closer than what we thought. I, for one, had no idea that our current laws allowed the government to shut down the ability of the people to work for and earn an income. I laughed at the idea of a universal basic income, but it has now become a reality. 

The fact is that, under extreme economic distress, inflation ever rising and market uncertainty, $1,000 will be worth way less than it is today, while food items and other commodities will be unaffordable for those affected by this crisis. This is the reason Venezuela and other Socialist countries have currencies that are worthless, and a piece of bread could cost millions in their local currency. Basically, it’s not the physical paper that matters, but the actual value that it holds. And if that value is gone, there is no point in holding onto it (or even continuously raising the minimum wage). 

The empty grocery stores and the savagery seen outline exactly what happens in a society when items are scarce and millions are unemployed.

The panic that was induced in our country allowed us to easily accept government overreach without clear data or clarification on when, if ever, these restrictions would be lifted. The empty grocery stores and the savagery seen (which included a stabbing over pack of water), outline exactly what happens in a society when items are scarce and millions are unemployed — we turn on each other, and we turn our backs on the most vulnerable. It becomes all about survival, and the deaths will continue to pile on, as we each try to make it another day putting food on our tables, and we forget those who we were initially attempting to protect.

Socialism Makes Society Unfair

Many politicians don’t have a history of taking actions to prevent loss of life but have jumped at this opportunity to damage our economy and the livelihood of millions with the excuse that they’re attempting to save lives. What they fail to realize is that starvation and poverty are major causes of death worldwide, and as we take our country in this unprecedented direction, we will be seeing an ugly side of society that we’re not prepared to deal with.

Economic downfall leads to issues such as rises in criminal activity and violence, as more people will turn to crime for a chance of making ends meet. With small businesses out of the market, big corporations will face high competition among employable candidates, and those who have records such as low credit score, misdemeanors, and other factors that could previously have been waived such as a lack of higher education, will be left unemployable. As we often see in Socialist countries, lawyers and doctors migrate only to work in unskilled jobs. It will eventually become a who-you-know, versus a what-you-know system. And that will not end well for the majority of us.

Economic downfall leads to issues such as rises in criminal activity and violence, as more people will turn to crime for a chance of making ends meet.

As if not satisfied with that outcome, many states are releasing inmates and refusing to jail criminal offenders in an attempt to preserve public health. If this makes sense to you, then you’re certainly not focusing on the safety and health of your community, and there is no plausible data other than political propaganda to support such decisions.

Which leads me to another well-known characteristic of Socialist governments — biased media propaganda. You will find that, once the situation gets out of control, many who supported this overreach will attempt to make it seem as if all is well, like in this video of clear government propaganda exposed in a supermarket in Caracas.

Closing Thoughts

This is a time in our society in which those who need the most are being abandoned. We can use our strength as a community to push back against special interests crushing those people, or we can turn our backs on them until the inevitable time in which that outcome catches up to us all. 

Then there will be no one to call for.

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