Lewis Morris / Dec. 20, 2017

Socialist Venezuela Starves Kids, Capitalist America Feeds Them

Thousands of Venezuelan children are dying of malnutrition thanks to the oppressive policies of their government.

The Left loves to portray socialism as the answer to all our problems. Our last president and last year’s Democrat presidential nominee embraced a number of policies that took or would have taken America in that direction, putting more power in the hands of the state and hamstringing the free market to pick winners and losers to cater to its whims.

To see the true outcome of these policies, one need look no farther than Venezuela. That nation has suffered a collapse so complete that its economy is in a death spiral, soldiers are posted in the streets to prevent food riots, and children are suffering severe malnutrition in record numbers while thousands of them have died of starvation.

The New York Times ran a story recently that explored, in heart-wrenching detail, the epidemic of starvation laying waste to an entire generation of children in that socialist nation.

The piece is the result of five months of reporting, with Times correspondents crisscrossing the country, talking with doctors and parents and tracking hospitals. One thing the article does not do, however, is explore the root cause of this human tragedy — the socialist policies of its dictatorial government.

President Nicolas Maduro is quick to blame other countries for his country’s suffering. Notably, he points the finger at Donald Trump (doesn’t everybody?), even though the seeds of Venezuela’s destruction were sown long before Trump took office.

The corruption and mismanagement of Venezuela’s government have led to costly mistakes in the running of its oil industry, once the country’s economic crown jewel. Venezuela possesses some of the richest oil deposits in the world, and it was once one of the largest producers of crude. But the oil sits in the ground, untouched. Refineries are quiet, with no one to manage them or without the proper equipment needed to keep them functioning. Ships sit empty in the harbors, awaiting oil cargo that will never arrive.

Maduro, and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, presided over a socialist government that sought to wring all the wealth it could out of the nation’s oil sector. Seizing private firms and putting everything under the control of the state led to reduced oil drilling and refinery capacity. As has always been the case in socialist nations, when people are not allowed to reap the fruits of their labor, they lose the incentive to work to the best of their abilities.

Venezuela put all its economic energies into its oil industry, and when that sunk the country’s economy sunk with it. Rampant inflation followed, along with a collapse of public services and infrastructure. Desperate people raided grocery stores, many of which have been empty for months. Those that still carry any items have soldiers posted at their doors.

The collapse of the country’s currency and the corrupt government’s inability to solve the problem has led to a major humanitarian crisis. Of course, the government refuses to share the magnitude of the problem, and reports have been buried. This made the Times article all the more important, as it shed light on the scope of malnutrition and starvation, even if it stopped short of detailing the cause.

The useful idiots of the American Left have revered Venezuela as a socialist paradise, yet they cannot seem to make the connection between socialism and the collapse of that nation. They are quick to blame capitalism for America’s economic difficulties, but they turn a blind eye to the role socialism has played in Venezuela, a nation that sits on a sea of oil yet has turned to the U.S. and Russia to buy 4.2 million barrels to keep the country running.

It’s worth noting that while the poor in Venezuela starve, the poor in America seem to be suffering the opposite problem. The obesity epidemic in this country has been an issue for years. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine notes that a majority of children in America today could be obese by the time they reach age 35.

Currently, about 20% of children ages six and up are obese. Sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise and poor diet are to blame. These factors are often found among the nation’s poor. Ironically, some physicians blame public school lunch programs and bad nutrition information from the government for the sharp rise in obesity.

The lesson in all of this may be that trusting the wellbeing of your family to the government never leads to good outcomes. It may seem tempting in the short run to put faith in an entity that promises to provide for you, but over the long term, that entity will only take everything you have and make you a slave to its whims.

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