"From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela, wherever socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems…" — President Donald Trump, Sept. 19.
A big takeaway from my prior years in ministry is that things aren't always as they seem. Sometimes people hide dark secrets behind nice smiles and happy faces.
Here in the U.S., gobs of sorely misinformed people fantasize about the pie-in-the-sky idea of socialism, having no idea all it does is make everyone except those in charge poor and miserable.
Even so, socialism barkers put on happy faces and try to sell socialism like snake oil salesmen.
And then there is President Trump, who told it like it is during his U.N. General Assembly speech, which will likely go down in history as one for the ages.
Trump said, "The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented."
You could almost hear all the air being sucked out of the room by horrorstruck socialist world leaders forced to face the truth head-on: Everywhere socialism is implemented it eventually fails.
Venezuela, the weight loss capital of the world, is falling apart.
Socialist policies picked this oil rich country bone-dry.
Former president Hugo Chavez justified stealing businesses from private citizens in the name of spreading the wealth around. He nationalized just about every industry to supposedly level the playing field and create financial equality.
Then he went spend-happy.
For a short while, Venezuelans enjoyed freebies like the single payer healthcare system that Congressional Democrats here in the U.S. want so bad they would probably be willing to sell everything you own to get it, if that's what it would take.
The government became Venezuelans' sole provider. Along with free healthcare, they also received subsidies for energy and food.
Then the healthcare system collapsed and the economy went kaput.
Devoid of basic necessities like food, medications, or even toilet paper, Venezuelans now forage through trash like wild animals and even eat dogs and cats to survive.
All that, while current president Nicolas Madura and Chavez family members live in the lap of luxury.
Yes, folks, socialism works.
It works for leaders who steal it from the folks at the top, bottom and middle.
They'll tell you every time they are doing it to share the wealth. Chavez talked the socialism talk while he was lining his pockets. When he died, he left his daughter Maria Gabriela Chavez around $4 billion, Miami-based newspaper Diario Las Americas reports.
Americans should be very leery of Democrat Party politicians whose eyes light up like blow torches at the mention of the childishly romantic idea of socialism. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a multi-millionaire who lives in a $2 million mansion. Bernie Sanders has three homes, including a $600,000 lake house. Former President Obama is worth tens of millions and rakes in $400,000 per speech from the Wall Street folks he once rail against.
Like Chavez, Democrats tend to blame much of the inequities in the world on capitalism.
Greedy capitalists didn't rape Venezuela, greedy socialists did.
The Economist reports Chavez "expropriated and redistributed wealth to weaken enemies and woo allies" and "undercut the oil wealth that funded Venezuelan socialism." Then, the inevitable happened, Venezuela ran "out of other people's money," just like former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said.
Apparently, her wisdom is far too yesteryear for current Prime Minister Theresa May, who issued President Trump a stiff-lipped smackdown for "pursuing protectionism" during her UN speech. May said protectionism might "undermine support for the forces of liberalism and free trade that have done so much to propel global growth."
Meanwhile, malnourished Venezuelans are fleeing in droves to escape the death throes of a socialist nightmare.