The latest disaster in socialist experimentation is Venezuela.
Like all socialists before him, the late Hugo Chavez won power after promising to steal the wealth from “rich Venezuelans” and corporations so he could redistribute it “to the people.”
He did just as he promised. But like all socialist experiments, he eventually ran out of other people’s money. And so did his successor, the current El Presidente of the country, Nicolas Maduro.
And now, millions of Venezuelans who believed the typical socialist lies of ‘equality’ and ‘prosperity’ for all are at least equal…equally miserable.
And now, as coronavirus sweeps the globe, many Venezuelans believe they have simply been “left to die,” as one older man whose pitiful pension won’t even buy a loaf of bread — when any can be found — has said.
Venezuelan retirees Carlos Blanco, 81, and Olga Rodriguez, 78, have for more than a year been unable to purchase the diabetes medication they need, as the country's hyperinflation has left their monthly pensions insufficient to buy even a loaf of bread.
Already at high risk in the coronavirus pandemic because of their age, the couple's untreated Type 2 diabetes leaves them at greater risk of any type of infection, as well as complications including blurred vision or diabetic comas.
They are now confined to their home, living off the food they have in storage, after President Nicolas Maduro declared a quarantine.
“Senior citizens have been sentenced to euthanasia,” Blanco said.
The Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) has been particularly harsh on older demographics, but the pandemic will hit poor countries even harder because they lack basic first-world necessities like proper nutrition, medicines, clean water, and a functional hospital system.
None of those things exist today in the ‘socialist paradise’ of Venezuela, which was once South America’s jewel.
Blanco and Rodriguez are forced to exist on a meager pension of around 250,000 bolivars per month, which is the equivalent of about three bucks, American. At best all that buys are a few pounds of chicken or several kilograms of corn flour. The rest of the time, they have to simply fend for themselves, like 3 million other Venezuelan retirees.
A November survey published by a pair of non-profit groups found that 77 percent of Venezuelans over the age of 55 said they lacked access to enough food, while one-in-10 said they often went hungry. (Related: There’s no such thing as “panic buying,” only rational people wisely stocking up on strategic supplies in anticipation of further disruptions.)
The elderly "have faced a progressive decline in their living conditions: malnutrition, inability to pay for their medicine, lack of access to health, migration of their children and relatives," said Luis Cabezas, director of Convite, one of the non-profits that conducted the survey.
That organization believes some 900,000 senior citizens are now living alone after more than 5 million Venezuelans who could flee have fled the country since it plunged into perpetual recession in 2015.
For breakfast, Blanco said he and Rodriguez have some black coffee and an arepa, which is typical fare in the country — a grilled corn pancake. In late afternoon, they eat a bowl of rice and some lentils.
They do get some financial assistance from one of their five kids, but it’s not nearly enough to allow them the luxury of three meals a day.
But as is always the case under socialism, there are other people who have it worse. Others, especially the elderly, cannot even work for a few extra pennies per month because businesses where they once earned extra money are now closed, never to reopen.
This is socialism, America. And if we elect the wrong people — we’re looking at you, AOC and Bernie Sanders — they will eat and live well while the rest of us starve and die.