Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gracias, Hugo!

One of the side effects of class warfare is that the class being struggled against take their talents and income elsewhere. And true to form, the "Bolivarian revolution" of Hugo Chávez has sent Venezuela's upper and middle classes heading for the exits for political asylum overseas, taking their skills and money with them.

The United States in particular is seeing a surge of Venezuelans applying for asylum - an odd phenomenon considering Venezuela's long envied regional status for political freedom and economic stability in the pre-Chavez era. When Chávez announced plans to nationalize private utility companies last January, the US embassy in Caracas reported that requests for visas doubled. Nearly all of the requests are from people who have found themselves on the wrong socio-political end of Chávez's firebrand socialist rhetoric. Even many of those who voted for Chávez have found themselves scapegoated by a "revolution" that relies on pandering to the poor for political support.

With a skyrocketing murder rate, high unemployment, and the world's worst performing currency, Chávez's role in driving out the wealthiest and best educated Venezuelans seems a puzzling choice to solving his country's problems. Then again, class warfare is about emotion, not logic, and Venezuela's brain drain is our brain gain. So gracias, presidente Hugo, for forcing your best and brightest to flee to America. You keep chasing them out, and we'll keep welcoming them in. And don't do anything foolish that might tempt them to go back, like liberalizing the economy, or giving up your dictatorial powers. After all, you'll know your socialist revolution has succeeded only when Venezuela hits rock bottom. Believe us, we've seen it all before.

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