2017 marked a string of conservative victories in Latin America – a part of the world where socialism has reigned for the past ten years.
Reasons for the shift include: the humanitarian crisis in socialist Venezuela, a pervasive anti-Bolivarian socialism movement, Trump’s refusal to coddle socialist and communist human rights violators (Cuba), prosecutors’ willingness to punish leading socialists, and socialism-prompted recessions.
In December, Chileans elected anti-socialist former President Sebastián Piñera. For years, Piñera has been loudly critical of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s human rights violations. In 2015, Piñera visited Venezuela in an attempt to speak with Léopoldo López, an opposition leader who had been taken prisoner by Venezuelan authorities. He was prevented from doing so.
The situation in Venezuela is a “tragedy in every sense of the world,” Piñera told reporters earlier this month. The region must “invoke all the legal instruments we can” and be “united in condemning what is happening.”
Another strong voice against Maduro is former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, who was arrested and dragged out of his office in 2015. In November 2017, despite being under house arrest, Ledezma managed to escape to Colombia and fly to Spain. From there, he was free to criticize Maduro.
“In Spain today, I feel free. Let’s not permit that Venezuela dies in our hands,” said Ledezma, who has recently joined former UN Security Council Chief Diego Arria and former Venezuelan legislator María Corina Machado in demanding the US place further sanctions on the Maduro regime.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who ran Brazil from 2003 to 2011, was sentenced to 9.5 years in jail for his role in a $26 million embezzlement scheme known as “Operation Car Wash.”
Former Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been charged with treason after conspiring with Iran to protect terrorists.
During her famously corrupt tenure, Kirchner negotiated with Iran for better oil prices. In exchange, she asked Interpol to remove six Iranian terrorists from its “red alert” list. Evidence suggests those same terrorists were responsible for the bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in 1994 – one of the deadliest bombings in the Western Hemisphere.
Kirchner was succeeded by center-right Mauricio Macri, who was elected in November 2015.
What does all of this mean for Hispanics living in the United States? As The Hill’s Israel Ortega writes, “In short, socialism does not work. And by extension, big government policies also do not work.”
“Latinos do not need to look to Latin America to see for that years of progressive economic policies here in our country have done little to reduce Latino unemployment and create the economic opportunities that many Hispanic immigrants have come here seeking,” writes Ortega, referring to Obama-era policies such as the Affordable Care Act and the 2009 economic stimulus bill.
“What’s needed here in our country, as well as in Latin America, are economic policies grounded in the understanding that jobs and economic opportunities are found when the private sector is growing.”
Editor’s note: Hopefully Venezuela’s problems have served as a warning to other countries about what they should not ever do.