Years ago, I got into an argument with a guy from Venezuela. He kept talking about how awesome his country was, and I disagreed. I told him where his country was going to end up if it continued its socialist ways.
In recent years, I’ve wondered where that guy is, and have thought if he’s still talking about how awesome Venezuelan socialism is too.
Now, things are bad down there. No doubt you’ve all seen the reports. You’ve all seen the stories about what all Venezuelans are eating because they have nothing else to eat. It’s very ugly.
A former minister of the South American nation says what happens next will be up to the “guys with guns.”
Venezuela is on the brink of a lasting change, according to Latin American leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
The South American country is embroiled in fast-moving political crisis, after an opposition leader stood in the streets of Caracas on Wednesday and declared himself as the rightful interim president.
A flurry of world powers, including the U.S., immediately backed Juan Guaido, prompting a furious response from President Nicolas Maduro.
The socialist leader broke diplomatic ties with President Donald Trump‘s administration on Wednesday, ordering all U.S. diplomatic personnel to leave the country within 72 hours.
Maduro also dismissed Guaido’s claim to the presidency, saying it was part of an American-led conspiracy to orchestrate a coup from afar.
“There is no doubt that the behavior of guys with guns will define much of what will happen in the coming days and shape politics in Venezuela,” Moises Naim, a former Venezuelan minister now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said during a WEF panel session on Thursday.
Naim described Venezuela as a “criminalized country,” rife with local and transnational gangs “maybe even more lethal and more dangerous” than the military.
Right now, the only people who have guns in the country are the military and the criminals.
Think about that for a moment.
The only people who have the potential to stand up to Maduro are criminal gangs. These aren’t even gangs who are conducting illegal activity as an act of defiance against a tyrannical leader. These are just your garden-variety armed thugs.
Which means those are the people who will decide Venezuela’s fate.
Because there’s not a gun culture there, the good and decent people of the South American nation are powerless to have a meaningful impact on their country’s fate. They’re stuck there, praying for help from someone.
Frankly, I watch that, and I thank God we have the Second Amendment.
Some will claim that can never happen here, but they’re deluding themselves. Look at the amount of support that people like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Occasio-Cortez seem to get. These are avowed socialists who merely appropriate the adjective of “democratic” to make their socialism seem more palatable. They’re getting a lot of support these days, which may grow if nothing is done to counter it, and that means we shouldn’t rule that future out for the United States. Not completely.
The saving grace is that when it comes time for “guys with guns” to determine our nation’s future, that can include good and decent people and not just two factions of armed thugs.