Waiting for Guaido

According to Study.Com Samuel Becket’s masterpiece Waiting for Godot is a play about nothing demonstrating the futility of human existence:

“The plot of Waiting for Godot boils down to this: two men pass the time aimlessly, while waiting for someone who never comes. That doesn’t sound like much action, but it is a fine example of the Theatre of the Absurd movement, which took place mostly in the 1950s and 1960s. It is defined as drama using the abandonment of conventional dramatic form to portray the futility of human struggle in a senseless world. In other words, these plays are about the meaningless, confusing, and ridiculous plight of the human being. Waiting for Godot demonstrates these themes well.”

Apparently this represents the “group-think” of the literati although none of them stopped to ask Mr. Becket if this were true. What it has always represented for me is the idea of lost opportunities while focused on something unlikely to happen. This may be a stretch but bear with me.

On Monday, April 29, 2019, Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s appointed and acting president (as a result of a corrupt and fraudulent election by then-President Nicolas Maduro) called for a popular uprising to oust Mr. Maduro and restore democracy to Venezuela. As of the writing of this column the outcome of that effort is still in doubt. What is not in doubt, however, is that Venezuela went from one of the richest countries in the world to abject poverty. The principle drivers were two Socialists – Hugo Chavez and Mr. Maduro who thoroughly destroyed Venezuelan’s economy in the name of income equality and other socialist nonsense. Neither Mr. Chavez nor Mr. Maduro were economist or businessmen. Both were morons and thugs. They achieved income equality by making everybody poor – just like their friends, the Castro brothers. Their rise to power came on the backs of Venezuela’s poor to whom they promised everything but, instead, took what little they had left. Mr. Chavez and Mr. Maduro, who lived lives of luxury, were the epitome of characters in Animal Farm and represented the adage that “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”

So when Mr. Guaido called for an uprising, the mainstream media swooned as they routinely do when leftist arise.  It was Guaido this, and Guaido that. Throw the oppressive Maduro out and bring in a new, young, telegenic face to cure all of the ills of Venezuela. It was the same mainstream media the heralded the young leftist Fidel Castro when he ousted Cuban tyrant Fulgencia Batista. It was the same mainstream media who cheered the rise of the Sandinistas, led by the young telegenic Daniel Ortega when they ousted the Nicaraguan Somoza dynasty. And it was the same mainstream media who are all agog over the new socialists – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilham Omar, and Rashida Tlaib and the telegenic but vague “Beto” O’Rourke. And it was the same mainstream media that has pretty much ignored the totalitarian regimes that have resulted from these socialist darlings.

It was the “group think” embraced without any real thought or question. It was considered “ill-informed” to think otherwise. It was so liberal/progressive where emotion trumps facts and logic, where visuals overcome reality. It was just so empty-headed.

And so you need to stop right there. Mr. Chavez and Mr. Maduro are Socialists. They took a wealthy country with one of the largest petroleum reserves in the world and through applying socialist policies drove it into the ground. And as their failures became more self evident they did like all of the other Socialists have done and resorted to government imposition to the point of totalitarianism. Socialism prevailed not because it worked but because armed might made it so.

In point of fact you only have to look back at socialism in Russia. The young Socialists cheered on by the media in Europe overthrew the Russian oligarchy and established a “socialist state” but it didn’t work. And when it didn’t work they had to find a reason. First it was the Jews, then the collaborators and then just about anybody that Josef Stalin and his goons didn’t like. Along the way the executed 25.0 million people. Then there was Mao Zedong who led the communist uprising against the Chinese Nationalists and established a socialist state in China, when it didn’t work, Mao established a pattern of continuous revolution in order to “cleanse” the party and the people it ruled. Along the way he executed 45.0 million people. And the same was true in Vietnam – 7.5 million executed. Cambodia – 3.0 million executed. Cuba – 73,000 executed. And in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is just getting started with at least 300 deaths since the first of the year.

In the end, socialist governments and socialist economies fail. Their perpetrators inevitably resort to violence to preserve their power ending in dictatorships and totalitarian states – Venezuela.

So now comes Mr. Guaido who will inherit a broken economy, a broken business structure, a ruined petroleum enterprise and a starving population without access to food or medicine. All thanks to his Socialist predecessors. But Mr. Guaido is a Socialist too. What will Mr. Guaido do to make those policies that have failed everywhere else succeed in a ruined Venezuela? So which socialist policies will lift Venezuela from its impoverished presence?

Will Mr. Guaido increase taxes on the rich to redistribute to the poor? Messrs. Chavez and Maduro already did that and the rich have already lost their wealth or taken it with them when they left Venezuela. Will he rebuild Venezuela’s energy industry? Well there is hope there since Mr. Guaido does have a college education and is an industrial engineer – he should know something about building operating structures. However, socialists habitually inject the social and political agendas into business structures to the point of distraction ensuring their failure and hastening their demise. The problem will be attracting capital in a socialist structure that punishes success. Will Mr. Guaido restructure the educational system to emphasize socialism and the wonders of a socialist world? We have seen that fail in every other country and we are seeing it in America as liberal/progressives dominate the educational community and alter math, history, and literature to fit a post-Modernism agenda where everybody is right and nobody is wrong except those who don’t agree with everybody who is right.

So you might think I am lobbying for the status quo in Nicaragua. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Maduro deserves the same fate as Benito Mussolini – another Socialist turned Facist. The collateral damage caused by the Maduro regime is creating an enormous burden on Columbia and Brazil as refugees from the Maduro regime pour into both countries straining their resources and their economies. Maduro must go – currently he is being propped up by other international bad boys – Russia, China, Cuba, and Iran. But he must go.

However, we have proved ourselves inept at regime change. Inevitably we send our young men and women to die for a country not their own and with neither a concrete plan of how to win or how to withdraw. A short list of recent failures – Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. We have had some successes also. Panama, where we went in specifically to remove and arrest strongman Manuel Noriega and left shortly thereafter to allow the citizens of Panama to deal with the form of government they wanted. Grenada, where we went in specifically to rescue American medical students and to punish socialist revolutionaries for executing the countries leaders. America quickly defeated the revolutionary guard, restored the previous government and left.

There is a lesson to be learned from both the successes and failures. President George H.W. Bush famously warned his son, George W. Bush, against “regime change” – an event he avoided in the lightening swift ouster of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.  Advice that the younger Bush ignored with the resulting  thirteen year battle that we are still fighting and that at best is a draw.

Every warrior worth his salt will tell you two things about war. First, fight to win – imposing limitations on the conduct of battle is a license for disaster. And second, fix your achievable goal and have an exit strategy after achieving it. Our failures in regime change stems mostly from assuming that every enemy when vanquished will embrace Western-style democracy. They won’t, they haven’t and we have paid the price.

Exchanging one Socialist regime in Venezuela for another Socialist regime is not worth the sacrifice of any of our warriors. Assist where you can with the ouster of Mr. Maduro, provide aid and assistance to the people of Venezuela when he is disposed, but stay the heck out with our military. If there is a fight to be fought, a Latin American alliance like PROSUR could be the focal point of a joint effort by Brazil, Columbia and Chile to oust Mr. Maduro and restore a democratic government to Venezuela. But not the United States, not another attempt at regime change by us, not another civil war fought by us for a government we cannot identify.