It is desperately sad to see the ongoing suffering of Venezuela’s 32 million people and how the country has descended into a state of chaos under its far-left socialist regime. More than 100 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces since April, amid shortages of food, medicine and basic provisions. Venezuela’s collapsing economy is seeing inflation of about 800% and the country has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
Amid the worsening situation, the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Venezuela and all dependents of British Embassy staff have been withdrawn. Criticism of the regime has come from virtually every other South American country as well as other western countries including the UK. The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson rightly summed up Venezuela’s president by saying “Maduro is acting like a dictator of an evil regime. He has destroyed Venezuelan economy, eroded human rights and imprisoned thousands.”
Sadly, what is happening in Venezuela is an extreme example of what happens when socialism reaches its natural conclusion of running out of other people’s money. The Venezuelan president is a personal friend of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn who has so far remained silent about recent events, but he and his colleagues weren’t always so quiet, having previously praised Venezuela as a model of socialism. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell once said that former president Hugo Chavez was “an example to any future Labour government in this country” while Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott once said “I think the importance of Venezuela is that it shows another way is possible”. When Corbyn and McDonnell congratulated Nicolas Maduro on succeeding Chavez, they noted his commitment to “continue Hugo Chavez's Socialist revolution in Venezuela”.
Jeremy Corbyn is due to visit Crawley on Monday 7th August to address cheering Labour Party members and Councillors who view him as a Socialist hero. While hailing Jemery Corbyn, they will be ignoring the lessons of our own political history of the 1970s and the late 2000s, as well the terrible decline of Venezuela which shows that ultimately socialism never works.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
9th August 2017