Great opinion piece in the NYT from Mexico’s former foreign minister on the total bankruptcy of “modern” socialism:
It is difficult to say whether the Cubana de Aviación airliner’s crash in Havana a few weeks ago or the mock elections in Venezuela on May 20 are the best illustration of the utter bankruptcy of the 21st century socialism that Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro have so loudly touted. They are both tragedies that have cost avoidable deaths and caricatures of what is to come in both countries.
Cuba paid a heavy price for the initial, and perhaps enduring, successes of its revolution: education, health and dignity. But from the very beginning — with the exception of a few years between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of its subsidies to Cuba in 1992 and the advent of Venezuelan support in 1999 — it always found someone to pay the bills. The next option was meant to be the United States. That no longer seems possible.
Venezuela, for its part, embarked on a perilous course with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 that was spurred further after a failed national oil workers strike in late 2002 and early 2003: building socialism after the Cold War, with support from Cuba and practically no one else. Cuban intelligence and security backing for Caracas continues, but high oil prices disappeared in 2014, and so did the Venezuelan government’s Saudi Arabian-like generosity to Havana. The glory days have been over for a long time; all that matters today is survival.
Herein lies the central question involving Venezuela, and ultimately, Cuba itself. At its annual assembly on June 5, the Organization of American States might consider a motion to suspend Venezuela; it will probably fail, but a stand will have been taken by the region’s democracies.
In the ensuing confrontation, anything can occur. The international community can decide, cynically but not illogically, that the country’s crisis is too dangerous to be left to Venezuelans. In this case, the only way to press the Maduro government to change course seems to be oil-based sanctions, led by but no limited to Washington.