Interesting

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Remember about a year ago, when Oscar Perez led a small group of soldiers in open rebellion against the government of Venezuela? When he commandeered a helicopter? That story was all over the mainstream news and social media.

Perez and his men were recently discovered hiding in an exurb of Caracas. They were surrounded. He was just killed in a shootout, along with some of his comrades (but is the word “comrades” correct when the guys are right wingers?). Strangely, it is not on English-language news much. At least, I’ve missed it.

Here in Colombia (and in Panama) I come across Venezuelans on a daily basis. Most are stridently opposed to the government there. I try not to engage the political angle too much. I certainly agree with their point regarding economic mismanagement. Hyperinflation. Squandered oil wealth.

However, what produced the revolutionary government in the first place was something its critics always erase from memory: decades of that government, pre-2002, serving only the elites, wasting foreign loans on extravagant projects, and then forcing the underclasses into austerity. The pre-revolutionary government excluded – from economic and civic life – the poorest segments of society, and it used force to maintain the pyramid.

The rich and middle classes of Venezuela, well, they earned Chavez, and they earned Maduro. They worked hard to get where they are! Talk about reaping what one sows.

Unfortunately, after more than a decade of the revolutionary regime being functional (lifting the bottom fifth of society upwards), progress has slowed, slopped, and is now in reversal.

Still, this is a coin with two sides to it.

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