Originally posted at American Thinker blog
Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, much like American President Barack Obama, believes in “sharing wealth.” As a means of satisfying “human needs … equally [and] without privilege,” Chávez adheres to “the fundamental goal of socialism.” If a person has what is considered excess, Hugo looks for creative ways to divide and redistribute the possessions of the one fairly among the many.
Hugo’s form of social impartiality assures the nation’s poor that the government is the provider of every earthly need. Venezuela’s government “subsidize[s] food to low-income families, redistribute[s] land and wealth, and pour[s] money from [a] booming oil industry into health and education programs.”
One area where Chávez’s pervasive redistributive efforts have failed is in the provision of shelter for Venezuela’s poor. The Chávez government has built “fewer than 40,000 units a year – some say only 24,000 – in contrast to previous governments, which averaged 70,000.” Therefore, Venezuela is further along in the housing crisis than countries farther north.
Compounding the problem is the severe flooding that has devastated hillside slums, “displaced thousands of families [and] highlight[ed] the shortage of 2 million or so housing units.” As a result, people looking to the government to provide for every human necessity “have had to erect shacks on top of shacks on precarious slopes.”
What socialist leaders like Hugo Chávez never acknowledge is Marxism’s repeated failure to deliver on big promises. Rather than abandon a failed system, Hugo Chávez turns again to plunder Venezuela’s middle and upper classes with plans to dole out stolen money to people who didn’t earn it.
When it comes to addressing Venezuela’s housing shortage, Chávez chooses to remedy the problem by eliminating the unjust practice of owning a home with unused space. In a failing global economy, Hugo’s fair and equitable fix even has the potential to be implemented, if need be, in high-foreclosure American cities like Detroit and Las Vegas.
The plan includes recruiting the military to ensure the homeless can take up residence in a stranger’s private home, as well as justifying the seizure of property by accusing rich people of hoarding and “leaving idle” all the best land. Also included is a strong dose of class warfare, forced closure of golf courses, and a proposal suggesting that “thousands of poor families could be settled” on the greens of the Caracas Country Club.
Chávez commenced the property-sharing program by stepping up “rural expropriations [by] deploying 1,600 troops at 47 farms…claiming the farms were unproductive.” The Venezuelan government also eyed urban areas to populate with the homeless as a way to reinforce “fading support in the slums, once Chávista heartlands, which [more recently] have voted for opposition mayors and governors.”
In response, and with little prodding from the government, a “wave of squats” dressed in Chávez Socialist Party red tee-shirts “seized 20 spaces in a coordinated strike in the well-off Caracas municipality of Chacao.”
In fact, a five-star hotel in Chacao is presently hosting 60 displaced families. Two women living in the hotel said, “We’re supposed to use the service entrance and not go near the lobby, but we get treated well. Three meals a day, everything free.” According to the poor residents of the five-star hotel, the experience of Chávez’s most recent effort to redistribute wealth can only be described as wandering in the “desert, and then…[getting to] an oasis.”
Apparently, Hugo has faith to believe aggressive socialist policies can “win the future” by merely forcing Venezuela’s diminishing middle and upper classes to “invest” in Chavez’s bid for re-election by mandating they relinquish personal property and wealth.