The Leader of the Opposition is a big fan of the Chavista administration in Venezuela. He praised them for years on end, saying last summer:
“When we celebrate, and it is a cause for celebration, the achievements of Venezuela, in jobs, in housing, in health, in education, but above all its role in the whole world as a completely different place, then we do that because we recognise what they have achieved.”
As ever with what might politely be called muscular socialism, Venezuela so-called “achievements” come at a price. Human Rights Watch documents at length the
“…accumulation of power in the executive branch and erosion of human rights guarantees have enabled the government to intimidate, censor, and prosecute its critics, leading to increasing levels of self-censorship. Leading opposition politicians have been arbitrarily arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and barred from running for office. Police abuse, poor prison conditions, and impunity for security forces when they commit such abuses as arbitrary arrests, beatings, and denial of basic due process remain serious problems.”
The second price of such a regime is, of course, that its policies do not in fact work. While stooges in the West sang the praises of Chavez and Maduro, his successor, they conveniently ignored the signs that they were plunging the nation into disaster. In the last few months, reports have abounded of various crises in Venezuela.
Shops have been running out of food. Basic supplies like toilet roll have become so scarce they are worth their weight in gold. Most recently, women have been urged not to use hairdryers because of the shortage of electricity, and now the government has resorted to changing the time in the hope that it will reduce the strain on the national grid. This is an energy crisis in the fifth-largest oil exporting country in the world – a living proof of the old quip that if socialists took over the Sahara there would be a shortage of sand.
Given all these failures, and the brutality involved in delivering them, is Corbyn still an enthusiastic admirer of the regime? His catalogue of articles and speeches on the topic has, conveniently, been deleted from his website. Perhaps it’s time for him to acknowledge that he was wrong?