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May 2 2019

No, Ilhan Omar, Socialism Caused Venezuela’s Devastation, Not the US

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has made a ridiculous claim that needs to be refuted.

As we watch the government of Venezuela kill and run over anti-government, pro-democracy protesters in violent clashes, Omar blasted U.S. foreign policy saying that the United States is “responsible” for the “devastation” and political upheaval.

Nevermind that the Venezuelan people, tired of starvation and exorbitant inflation caused by socialist policies, have called for new leadership and are now pushing the ruling dictator to step aside.

In an interview yesterday, Omar said,

“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has [sic] kind of helped lead [to] the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today.

“This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”

Even worse, she slammed Elliott Abrams, the U.S. State Department Special Representative for Venezuela:

“People like Elliott Abrams, neocons and warmongers, you know, for so long have pushed for policies that are now—we can see, not only in Central America, but many parts of the world, the kind of devastations that they’ve had for decades… someone who had a heavy hand in some of the most devastating policies that we imposed on Central America, and that there is a direct correlation between the kind of mass migration that we’re noticing right now from Central America and South America to this country.”

Rep. Omar is not just against U.S. sanctions as a diplomatic tool, but also supports the socialist policies that the far-left of the Democratic Party advocate for.

Let’s just review the apocalyptic situation in Venezuela that prompted the people to take to the streets in protest year-after-year:

  • Hyperinflation (of perhaps 1.3 million percent) with prices doubling every 19 days on average

  • Severe food shortages leading to hunger

  • Children increasingly dying of causes related to hunger and malnutrition

  • Once-eradicated diseases like cholera and malaria have returned

  • Nationwide power blackouts leading to deaths

  • Mobile phone systems down

  • Hospitals missing vital equipment and power to keep patients alive

  • Lack of constant running water

  • No internet in most of the country

  • Refugee crisis - 3 million people have fled the country since 2014

However, life in Venezuela was not always like this. In the 1920s, oil was discovered in Venezuela and the country was found to have the world’s largest oil reserves. The profits from exporting oil created wealth for the nation.

Economic mismanagement and corruption followed under Presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro squandering the nation’s prosperity.

As international oil prices fell, the situation only grew direr and the Maduro government responded by cracking down on opposition forces, sham elections, and consolidating power in his hands.

Rep. Omar is in good company with Russia and China, but they are no company to keep. They blame international sanctions for the demise of Venezuela, but they have heavy financial ties to Venezuela and interests in propping up the Maduro government. 

Make no mistake, this crisis was triggered by socialist policies and corruption in a once rich nation. Omar is curiously silent on the mismanagement and corruption that plagues the government still, but more than willing to bash the U.S. and the many nations which join the U.S. in imposing sanctions, including Latin American nations.

Don’t fall for Omar's rhetoric. This is a stark caution of the potential harm that could happen to our economy, our communities, and our freedom if we implement that thinking here.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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