A few years ago I was pottering around in my garden when Red Russ Christensen, Farmington’s leading Bolshevik, toiling up Red Schoolhouse Road with this hiking staff gave me a cordial hello. We chatted a bit about gardening and blackberry bushes, then he proudly informed me that he had just returned from Venezuela to view Hugo Chavez’s “21st Century Socialism” in action.

I didn’t make much of this, briefly prophesying that he could expect the whole thing to turn smelly and go belly-up to sink before his eyes in pretty short order. We parted with expressions of mutual esteem.

In November 2006 the University of Maine’s Socialist and Marxist Studies Lecture Series brought in Georges Kabche to present his ‘analyses’ of Hugo Chavez’s ‘controversial’ domestic policies. I don’t know how much their imported cheerleader cost the Orono crackpots, but I’m pretty sure I could have beat his price and covered all the same predictable points without missing a beat.

Here’s a summary. Hugo doesn’t have a thought in his head about dictatorship. He’s a “heroic symbol” to Venezuelans. Well all right, not all Venezuelans idolize him. The financial interests, the oil companies, and a bunch of selfish elites despise him because he’s upyanking the downtrodden. He doesn’t hate the United States. He just says he does. In reality he is only striving to “regain a balance between existing powers and emerging ones…” Power doesn’t interest the colonel; benevolence alone motivates his actions. If he shut down the country’s premier TV station it’s only because it criticizes him unfairly. He welcomes fair criticism – if such a thing were even possible.

Same old stuff. I mastered it years ago and could serve it up point-for-point while half asleep. The only problem is, the recitation would probably have put me completely to sleep.

Advice to would-be dictators; put up plenty of red bunting and America’s socialists and Marxists while show up in droves to lick your combat boots. Just remember, if you got a little toothbrush mustache, shave it off or let it grow out.

So what’s going on with 21st Century Socialism these days? Venezuela,
one of the world’s most oil-rich country is suffering an energy crisis with rolling black-outs. Brings to mind the old joke about what would happen if the Marxists took over the Sahara Desert – nothing much for thirty years, then there’s a shortage of sand. It appears that Hugo has found a way to speed the process up. It took him just eleven years.

His solution? Bring in Cuban V.P. Ramiro Valdes, a septuagenarian thug fondly known as “Ramiro the Terrible” and “Bloodthirsty” back in the tropical paradise beloved by all American loony-leftists and admired by many liberals. A Venezuelan columnist reports that the Cuban technicians have already damaged six Venezuelan energy-generating engines at four hydroelectric plants by forgetting to put oil in before firing them up. Only six? A lot of work still to be done.

Lots more for Orono’s would-be commissars to admire: currency devaluation, the worst price inflation in Latin America, water shortages, commodities shortages, billions of armaments brought from the Soviet Union, twittering denounced as terrorism and a judge forced to seek asylum in the United States because she failed to judge correctly.

The progress of Venezuelan socialism proceeds along familiar lines. The
leftist efforts to excuse its failures will proceed along familiar lines. The only interesting novelty is Hugo’s accusation that the U.S. government ‘earthquaked’ Haiti with a secret terror machine. Can we look forward to a speaker being brought to Orono to explain how this machine works? Stay tuned.

My prediction of its failure will be vindicated. I also predict that the left-lurchers will learn nothing from the experience and that sun will rise in the east tomorrow. These prophecies will also be vindicated. My prophecies always are.

Professor John Frary of Farmington is a former U.S. Congress candidate and retired history professor, a board member of Maine Taxpayers United and an associate editor of the International Military Encyclopedia. He can be reached at: jfrary8070@aol.com.