Chavez’s declaration last week that he’ll suspend Venezuela’s constitution and congress for 18 months and rule by decree will turn Venezuela into a dictatorship. Checks and balances of democratic power sharing will end, and anyone who thinks Chavez will voluntarily return to democracy is a wishful thinker.
Chavez openly calls himself a communist and has ambitious plans to expropriate even more businesses, farms and buildings. He’s giving himself carte blanche to meddle with the food supply and will create shortages. He intends to bulk up the military to intimidate his neighbors. That heralds a whole new level of trouble for the region because it’s unlikely to stop at Venezuela.
In 2005, over 10,000 Venezuelans sought permanent residence in the U.S., more than twice as many as who sought admission to the U.S. in 1999, when Chavez first took office. Of these, about a tenth were people fleeing political persecution for asylum.
As Chavez confiscates productive farms, sends red-shirted political rabble to take over apartments, shuts down TV stations, restricts government jobs and services to his friends, abandons the capital to crime, boosts Cuba’s security presence, puts armed troops on every corner, launches neighborhood spying committees and forces Marxist indoctrination into even private schools, more Venezuelans find they can no longer endure it. They’re leaving.
Venezuelan immigration to the U.S. has gone up more than 5,000% since 2000. Canada has seen a similar surge.
Who’s coming? Not farmworkers or day laborers. Sadly for Venezuela, we’re getting the cream of the crop. The doctors working in department stores and teachers working in fast food places are among the many coming here who’ve had some opportunity to develop their skills as professionals and entrepreneurs.