‘Xenophobic’ Latin America?

Reply to Al Jazeera’s Megan Janetsky on ‘Xenophobia’

by Serban V.C. Enache

In this article, Megan Janetsky claims that “Venezuelans have faced increased xenophobic attacks and attitudes,” but doesn’t invoke a single example of such an attack. The fact that countries in Latin America have begun to take measures to stem immigration is not a sign of xenophobia, it’s the inevitable consequence of the reality on the ground. It’s simply impractical for these countries to accommodate higher and higher inflows of people from Venezuela. There’s only so much space, facilities, job offers, and money [foreign funds on which these countries are largely dependent] to go around. Instead of playing the xenophobia card, lecturing countries and governments about how bad they are for not being xenophiles, the author should lay the blame on Washington’s foreign policy, not just on Maduro’s Government. By the way, Megan Janetsky doesn’t mention the trade sanctions, doesn’t mention the West’s hostile policy toward the country at all. This fact alone betrays the article as being nothing more than propaganda, a liberal’s virtue signalling, false humanitarianism, and promotion of the ‘no-borders’ and ‘limitless immigration’ mentality.

Crippling Western sanctions and theft of Venezuelan assets held abroad, on top of efforts to foment civil unrest and treason within the country’s law enforcement and military, are the major factors – but Maduro’s Government certainly has its share of the blame, and it goes back to Chavez’s administration as well.

And, yes, it’s also a failure of Venezuelan type of socialism. Take Cuba, for instance. Cuba has lived under US trade sanctions for more than half a century [plus US-sponsored terrorism]; and despite the odds, living on the hegemon’s doorstep, it managed to retain socio-economic and political stability. Cuba doesn’t have a fraction of Venezuela’s natural wealth; but it does have 1/3 of Venezuela’s population. Since the 1960s, Venezuela’s birth rate, measured per 1000 people, has fallen dramatically as you can see in the graph below.

In order to move away from the ‘resource exporter’ model, a country requires an increase in population size in order to diversify production, without depriving its traditional sectors of manpower. Simply put, if you want to diversify without causing shortages elsewhere, you need a bigger labor force. Chavez and Maduro didn’t even try to diversify, nor would they have succeeded without promoting population growth. The fact that a country the size of Venezuela has only three times the population of Cuba is a statistic worthy of national shame. The same goes for my country of Romania, which has only two times Cuba’s population. The fact that there are stores, filled with produce while people face severe malnutrition, that gasoline basically has no price in Venezuela, but electricity is rationed and public transportation is curtailed or paralyzed, points to the fact that Bolivarianism, or more accurately Chavism, was carried out with a total disregard for true economic and geopolitical planning. While hostile state actors and domestic renegade forces do offer the ruling political class in Venezuela a degree of extenuating circumstances, such adversity doesn’t wash away the complacency and criminal incompetence of the country’s Left wing governing parties and leaders. All decision factors across the hierarchical chain, who place ideology or their own status above the Nation must be ejected and their designs carefully examined and purged of any ideological adventurism and self-seeking schemes. Maduro and his crew aren’t fit for office, and Guaido should be arrested and condemned for high treason.