Trump's Expat Followers Were Right! The U.S. Looks Like Socialist Venezuela Now!
¡Epa! all you socialist-slaying Florida Venezuelans out there! I hate to break this to you, but you’re looking a lot like…socialists.
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Let’s fantasize for a moment that socialist Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro suddenly submits to a free and fair election. International observers, an independent election commission, a level media playing field – the democratic works. And let’s assume Maduro loses, bigly, since polls show most Venezuelan voters rightly despise him and his catastrophic regime.
We can all guess what would happen then. Maduro would refuse to accept the results or budge from the Miraflores palace. He’d call the election rigged by his archenemy, the U.S. He’d insist millions of ballots were illegally cast. He’d sack if not jail any government official who contradicts him. He’d move to strengthen his hold on the military and other public security agencies. And he’d refuse the legitimate victor any access to information critical to citizens’ health and welfare, like how badly destroyed Venezuela’s medical, food and oil sectors are.
He would do every egomaniacal thing under the Caribbean sun to obstruct Venezuela’s democratic transition.
In other words, the despot in Caracas would do precisely what President Trump – the wannabe despot – is doing right now in Washington. No civically responsible American is impugning the presidential election Joe Biden won this month. But Trump is so deep in infantile Maduro mode that Tuesday night he fired the Homeland Security Department’s cybersecurity director, Chris Krebs, for nothing more than asserting that the U.S. vote – the largest in the country’s history – was exemplary.
And yet many if not most Venezuelan expats sit in Doral and Weston and Orlando acting as if this doesn’t remind them of anything. Of anything they fled, of anything they claim to detest. Of the radical dictator-in-waiting they falsely and absurdly accused Biden of being during their months-long, anti-socialista misinformation bacchanal.
Venezuelan expat witch hunters here like Carinés Moncada – who on her WURN-AM radio show recently called leaders of the Black Lives Matter racial justice movement Satan worshippers and claimed that Biden stood for socialista “rape and anarchy” – are now spreading more eye-popping lies in the election’s aftermath.
Moncada’s Twitter page is dripping with bogus election conspiracy acid. It includes breathless interviews with Trump advisers about ties between Dominion, the company that makes the voting machines used by some 30 U.S. states, and the voting tech firm Smartmatic, which has in the past been hired to tally ballots in Venezuela. The Team Trump aim, of course, is to claim sinister links between Dominion and the Maduro regime.
Venezuelan expats like Moncada are essentially aping what Maduro’s socialist enablers would do if that fantasy election I imagined earlier were held – and what they have done in the past after real elections in Venezuela. In that ugly, unethical regard I see little if any difference between Trumpistas like Moncada and the Castro-Chavistas (named for Cuba’s late communist dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s late socialist strongman Hugo Chávez) who are supposed to take over America as soon as Biden takes the oath of office.
I’m hardly alone, especially among folks who, like me, believe both Trumpism and Castro-Chavism are disastrous paths. In the New York Times this week, my friend Alberto Barrera Tyszka – one of Venezuela’s most respected journalists and co-author of one of the most critical biographies of Chávez – suggests too many Venezuelan opposition members and expats exhibit “an absence of rationality.”
“[S]ome opposition Venezuelans,” Barrera writes, “have forged with Donald Trump the same blind devotion that other Venezuelans forged with Hugo Chávez” – the kind “where religious furor outweighs arguments.”
But that’s the church Miami all too often is – a sanctuary where so many people like Moncada come to morph into the same irrational, intolerant thing they fled.
I’ll give them this, though: their ominous warning was right. All during the campaign they screamed that America was doomed to look just like Maduro’s Venezuela if Biden were to win. Biden won. Trump is acting like an autocratic Venezuelan socialist. And so are way too many of his Venezuelan expat followers.
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