I hesitate to accuse many people of being the personification of rank evil but when faced with the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Ken Livingstone, Naomi Campbell, Diane Abbott, Seumas Milne and Owen Jones in the UK; Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Michael Moore in the US, there is, quite simply, no other word for them. Lest you doubt me - you wouldn't do that, would you? - then read Jason Mitchell's piece in The Spectator this week.
He reminds us that only ten years ago all the above were singing the praises of Hugo Chavez and his wonderful, humanitarian experiment in Venezuela. That, they insisted at the time, was the truly socialist road we should all follow to a new world order. Of course, Chavez died, extremely painfully I hope, of cancer but all of their Left-wing hopes were shifted to their new hero, Nicolas Maduro. So how's that working out then?
Maduro has turned out to be an economic incompetent of the highest order. Last year imports collapsed by more than 50 per cent and the economy nosedived by 19 per cent. The budget deficit is around 20 per cent of GDP. The minimum wage is now the equivalent of £25 a month. After a Central Bank estimate that suggested that the Venezuelan economy had contracted by 19 per cent last year was leaked to the press, Maduro fired the bank’s president and replaced him with a Marxist loyalist.
At the heart of Venezuela’s economic chaos lie market distortions. Petrol is sold locally for less than one penny per litre and it receives £12 billion of state subsidies a year. The country has a complex monetary arrangement that makes use of three different exchange rates simultaneously.
This feeds rampant corruption: the president’s cronies can buy dollars from the state at ten bolivars a dollar but sell them at 3,300 bolivars a dollar on the black market. Price controls have made it unprofitable for small businesses to sell staple goods, leading to widespread shortages. Carjackings and kidnappings are now epidemic. Caracas’s murder rate is 80 times higher than
Needless to say, human rights have been trampled on and most people believe that Maduro will fix next year's election to ensure that he remains 'El jefe'! Well, we all get things wrong from time to time but given the scale of the humanitarian disaster overwhelming Venezuela, isn't it time - indeed is it not long overdue - for all those smug, stupid, wealthy and evil Lefties to admit their errors? Don't hold your breath!
No sooner had I written the above than I clicked over to the always excellent American Thinker to read some good news from Monica Showalter. She points out that already President Trump has put away the soft-soled slippers worn by his predecessor and replaced them with steel-capped boots in his approach to the 'thugocracy' that runs Venezuela. In a highly publicised event he met personally with Liliana Tintori, the wife of a Venezuelan thrown into jail years ago on false charges.
What a hell of a change from the mealy-mouthed, don't-upset-them approach seen from the Obama and, to some extent, even George Bush White Houses. Trump not only met with Tintori, signaling that she was welcome in the White House any time she liked, he also posed for a photo with her that included Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, to show an unambiguous united front.
Not satisfied with that signal written in block capitals, 'The Donald' went one stage further:
It comes just a few days after Trump placed Chavista Vice President Tareck el-Aissami onto a Treasury Department list of actual drug dealers, something that is not done lightly, and requires the most unassailable standards of proof. The U.S. has had it for years, sitting on it, but until now refused to execute in the sanctions order. Trump got that job done, too.
Go, Donald, go!