March 12, 2019
At the muddy drains, the lines are hundreds deep. Venezuelans, desperate for something to drink as the power blackout stretches on, hold buckets under the dirty pipes. Lilibeth Tejedor, one of the women holding a plastic container under a line that usually holds sewage, waits for any kind of water to spill out. We have no choice, she says. “I’ve never even seen this before. It’s horrible, horrible.”
People have been warned not to drink what comes out of the pipes. “[It] should only be used to flush toilets or scrub floors,” the authorities told them. But, as Lilibeth said, “How do you tell a child that there’s no water?” Without electricity, state-run reservoirs are running low, there’s no way to pump water, and whatever the people cart back to their houses runs the risk of disease. “They’re killing us with hunger and thirst,” Gladys Martinez nearly cried.
The conditions are so dire that the U.S. is pulling its embassy staff out the country. With no end to the crisis in sight, most of Latin American is worried about a full-scale social implosion. “We’re going to arrive at a moment when we’re going to eat each other,” Zuly González told the New York Times. World leaders, led by President Trump, are doing everything they can to get humanitarian relief to the families trapped inside Venezuela – but President Nicolás Maduro still refuses to let the trucks of aid across the border. On Monday’s “Washington Watch,” Rep. Ted Yoho (D-Fla.) put the blame squarely on the corrupt president’s shoulders. “This is all orchestrated -- all manmade -- by Maduro and his cronies. He can blame the United States all he wants, but he’s the one that’s been at the helm, following in the steps of Hugo Chavez.”
Now, with the economy in shambles, “It’s real desperate. It’s been desperate,” Yoho explained. “There was a documentary a few months ago, where parents were dropping off their children at the hospital because they were so malnourished… The average Venezuelan, I think, has lost 15-25 percent of their body mass. It’s not a national exercise program, it’s a lack of resources.” When I was in Dallas last week, I had a dinner with a pastor from Venezuela, who told me inflation is so out of control that families are trying to live on the equivalent of a $5 a month salary (in a country where a single loaf of bread costs $1).
Unfortunately for Democrats, Venezuela’s collapse isn’t exactly winning more Americans over to socialism. “This whole attack on capitalism,” Yoho told me, “and how it’s an evil word, I think the American people are smarter than that… The [world] has been marching a socialist – I’d almost call that a communist -- manifesto since 1887. And then you get the radical liberals in there today – the three that have just come into this Congress – saying how bad capitalism is. They need to wake-up. Take it away, and you’ll have Venezuela.”
Half of Generation Z says it wants to live in a socialist country, but try convincing them to live without food, clean water, electricity, medicine, freedom, or money. Suddenly, it’s not such a romantic idea. “Socialism is easy to campaign on but tough to govern [by],” the president warned, “because the country goes down the tubes… They think, free healthcare isn’t that wonderful? But the truth is when you’re up on the debate stage, and they say we’re giving you free education, we’re giving you free healthcare, we’re giving you everything you want and a Rolls-Royce in everyone’s pocket, it’s not an easy situation. But what happens is ten years later the country is gone… whether it’s this country or any other country.”
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.