Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Cuba

According to this story in the Telegraph, middle class Venezuelans are trying to esape Hugo Chavez's "20th century socialism."

At the US Embassy, visa enquiries have almost doubled in recent weeks, from 400 to about 800 a day. "There are normal spikes toward Christmas or another major holiday, but this increase doesn't fall into that category," said embassy spokesman Brian Penn.

The British embassy has seen a similar rise in numbers. "It has been increasing for some time, but what's different now is the tone of desperation," said a British spokesman.

A website for would-be emigrants - (I want to - reports that since Mr Chavez's December 3 election victory, and his announcement last month that he would nationalise the telecommunications and electricity industries, the number of daily visits it receives has soared from 20,000 to 60,000.

advertisement"You're getting more families, who are worried about their children's futures," said Esther Bermudez, who runs the site.

That's because it's deja vu all over again. Here's the way it works:
1. Guy gets elected with some line about being for the people, one of the people, etc.

2. Starts lots of programs for poor and middle class at the expense of wealthier people (who don't count anyway).

3. Nationalizes some industries (such as the oil industry, the telephone service and electricity industries).

4. Refuses to allow dissent through opposition television or radio stations.

5. Granted "enabling law" which allows the dictator to rule without consulting the National Assembly

Yep, we've been down this road before. It won't be long before we start hearing about the persecution of various sects, seizure of private property, and suppression of rights. The smart (and lucky) people are getting out now.