The “Bolivarian Diaspora” from Venezuela: People Fleeing a Political Cancer
By Dennis Jamison February 2, 2019
The Socialism that destroyed the nation of Venezuela is like an ideological or political cancer. The “Bolivarian Diaspora,” which has been recognized by numerous observers as the largest recorded refugee crisis in the Americas, is a direct result of the “Bolivarian Revolution” initiated by Hugo Chavez and prolonged by Nicolás Maduro. The already strained economies of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru, are now facing even greater economic stress as these nations are all attempting to do what they are able to help the fleeing Venezuelan refugees. The problem did not originate in their nations, yet the problem is generating collateral problems as it explodes beyond the borders of Venezuela.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the exodus from the Communist-run state reached three million human beings by November of 2018. Data from national immigration authorities and other sources indicate that the surrounding countries in Latin America now host an estimated 2.4 million refugees. Other regions have received the remainder of these unfortunate people. A majority of the refugees, with estimates of over one million people, fled to adjacent Colombia. The nation of Peru has absorbed over half a million, tiny Ecuador over 220,000, Argentina 130,000, Chile over 100,000 and massive Brazil 85,000. Additionally, even Caribbean countries and some in Central America have received increasing numbers of refugees fleeing Venezuela.
So, were millions of human beings fleeing Socialism, or Communism in Venezuela? It is doubtful that the average Venezuelan refugee even may know what Socialism is, or how Communism works. And, it is not because they are from a little South American country. It is just as likely that the average American citizen does not understand what Socialism is, or how Communism works. People were fleeing Venezuela because they wanted to survive; they no longer could suffer the outcome of the failed government policies based on Socialism or the horrors manifested from Communist totalitarianism.
According to a recent report from the Brookings Institution, there was a normalization of scrounging for food from the garbage on the streets because of the regular shortage of food in Venezuela. But, the United Nations Refugee Agency reported that the refugees were fleeing Venezuela not only from serious shortages of food, and fear of losing their food rations, but also from the shortages of medicine, and the relative collapse of the health care system. In 2018, the New York Times Editorial Board reported that malaria had started a soaring resurgence in this once-great nation. And, as it may happen, whatever diseases the refugees had contracted inside Venezuela, without adequate health care in their country, those diseases become a major danger for the host nations who allow them to come into a relatively safe and stable state of asylum.
Wil S. Hylton, writing for The New York Times Magazine, in March of 2018, wrote of the Venezuelan tragedy: “With extreme shortages of food and medicine, rampant crime in every province, a capital city with the highest murder rate in the world and one of the highest levels of inflation in recorded history, Venezuela is the most urgent humanitarian disaster in the Western Hemisphere, producing the largest exodus of refugees in the history of the Americas.”
On May 21, 2018, just after the “election,” the New York Times Editorial Board, in an article titled “Venezuela’s Sham Election,” the board pointed out that:
“the election on Sunday was less a contest than a dictator’s classic reach for a false patina of legitimacy. The largest opposition political parties were banned from taking part, key politicians were barred from running and there were widespread opposition calls for a boycott. In the end, the turnout was pathetically low, with Mr. Maduro garnering 68 percent of what votes were cast.”
Unfortunately, in this day, it is the plight of the people of Venezuela who are having to “vote with their feet” to escape the horrors of the failed policies of a Socialist tyrant, and who are witnessing the age-old international powers re-aligning themselves on the side of freedom or tyranny. It was not like the people of Venezuela were asleep during this time. Many dissidents raised their voices—many were silenced. In the “election” last May, most international observers recognized it as a sham. The thinking people of Venezuela recognized it as a sham, and felt that there was no hope for the Socialist policies of Chavez and Maduro to be revised, or even reversed, for the benefit of the citizens. This is primarily because socialism is portrayed as advantageous to all, but it is fundamentally for the power of the Party, to the detriment of the whole society.
The “Bolivarian Diaspora” is indeed one of the greatest human tragedies in the American Hemisphere
The “Bolivarian Diaspora” is indeed one of the greatest human tragedies in the American Hemisphere. But it was not a tragedy by accident, nor is it the only example of a failure of a Socialist/Communist state. Ironically, the world witnessed a Communist experiment gone bad in Cuba. In the 1960s, a “man-made disaster,” managed by Fidel Castro, also led to a flight of professional people from Cuba, and the fleeing of all the people who sought refuge in South Florida. The Cuban people also fled from the internal problems that became the outcome of the Communist policies initiated by the Castro regime.
It has been reported that since 1959 the Cuban exodus had been “one of the most significant migrations, proportionally, in modern times.” Around 700,000 Cubans fled to the U.S. prior to the Mariel Boatlift, which was Castro’s effort to flush the criminals from Cuba in the 1980s. The Heritage Foundation published an article entitled “The Cuban Refugee Problem in Perspective, 1959 -1980” that provides a brief history on the plight of the refugees from Castro’s Cuba.
”Between January 1, 1959, and the October 22, 1962 Missile Crisis, 248,070 migrated to the United States. In early 1959 members of the political and military elite fled, followed by members of the propertied and professional sectors, who by 1961 comprised 45 percent of the registrants with the Cuban Refugee Program. It soon became far more than an exodus of the elite for by the end of the first phase, over 50 percent of the Refugee Program registrants were clerical and sales workers and skilled workers. This period also saw the arrival of some 13,000 unaccompanied children sent to the U.S. by parent s fearful of government control of their lives.”
The people of Venezuela are speaking to the world; political cancer has consumed their country
The problems that manifested in Cuba after the Communist takeover of Castro erupted into a heightened global confrontation between the major representative nations of the Free World and that of the Communist World. The situation in Venezuela is eerily similar on some levels to the events in the 1960s in which the United States and the former Soviet Union came very close to initiating a nuclear holocaust. However, while Cuba was more of a great geo-strategic ally to the Soviet Union due to its proximity to the U.S., Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. And again, the United States and Russia are now aligning themselves with the respective sides of freedom for the people vs. tyranny over the people.
The people of Venezuela are speaking to the world; political cancer has consumed their country. How many other nations will be consumed before the people of the world begin to awaken and separate themselves from the dangers of personal and national destruction? All people deserve to be free, and not shackled by the pretense of equality or illusion of freedom.
Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Currently retired from West Valley College in California, where he taught for nearly 10 years, he now writes articles on history and American freedom for various online publications.
Formerly a contributor to the Communities at the Washington Times and Fairfax Free Citizen, his more current articles appear in Canada Free Press and Communities Digital News. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he was the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. Jamison founded “We the People” – Patriots, Pilgrims, Prophets Writers’ Network and the Citizen Sentinels Network. Both are volunteer groups for grassroots citizen-journalists and activists intent on promoting and preserving the inviolable God-given freedoms rooted in the founding documents.
Jamison also co-founded RedAmericaConsulting to identify, counsel, and support citizen-candidates, who may not have much campaign money, but whose beliefs and deeds reflect the role of public servants rather than power-hungry politicians.