The Latin American country of Venezuela is currently being plagued by food shortages and shortages of other essential goods. This is thanks to its 20-year march to socialism which began under its late former President Hugo Chavez, first elected in 1999.
This process was turbocharged by its current President Nicolás Maduro where the situation has become so dire for its long-suffering citizens that they are resorting to eating dogs and rats. The oil-rich once wealthiest nation in Latin Ameria is now at the point of financial ruin.
Despite the state of the nation, constant protests against his Presidency Maduro was re-elected last month in Venezuela’s presidential election. Maduro won 67.8% of the vote in an election both Venezuelan NGOs and international observers called a show election, due to the poor turnout, vote-buying allegations, violence and intimdation of opponents as well as other irregularities.
Even with all the above examples of how Venezuela has disintegrated, socialists around the world who have supported the Bolivarian Revolution from the Chavez era are still showing solidarity with the Venezuelan government. The Green Left Weekly newspaper once vowed ‘The commune or nothing!’
While you’d expect the socialist rags to apologize for a failed socialist state, you would think that our major institutions would not be so naive? Of course, you would be wrong. Last year two of the most left-wing and miltant unions in Australia passed motions of support for the Venezuelan government.
In July 2017 the Maritime Union of Australia’s Sydney Branch passed a motion which stated “pledge our resolute solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their Bolivarian Revolution”. The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s (CFMEU) Victorian Branch passed a motion a day later which stated they “pledge our support with the people of Venezuela and their Bolivarian Revolution Socialist Government”.
Since then those two unions have merged to create the super-union the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU). Now they have written to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop calling on her to recognize the election result and congratulate Nicolás Madura on his re-election.
The letter was written by the CFMEU WA Branch President Vinnie Molina who is also President of the Communist Party of Australia. Molina claimed that as an international observer of the election he witnesses no irregularities and claimed all of the turmoil in the nation is caused by violent opposition to the government.
The CFMEU’s Victorian Secretary John Setka who recently had blackmail charges against him dropped claimed his union was not anti-business as that would disadvantage workers. But when you have officials in the union tied to the local communist party and express support for a totalitarian socialist government, that is hard to believe.
It begs the question if this union became even more influential within the federal Labor Party (they helped Bill Shorten secure the leadership), what type of far-left anti-business policies would we see implimented? Let us hope that Venezuela remains to us in Australia a lesson in the failure of socialism and not an instruction manual.