Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thinking and Praying for the People of Venezuela

The situation in Venezuela has gone from horrible to catastrophic. The descent into a totalitarian dictatorship is now in full force. The Maduro dictatorship is arming its thugs with automatic weapons to counter the peaceful demonstrations of the Venezuelan opposition. There had been some talk of a “humanitarian intervention” led by the US, Mexico and several other countries, but the Trump administration seems uninterested. The Venezuelans will have to continue into their nightmare of politically induced famine and Communism.
President Chaves giving an anti-American diatribe a the UN
Image result for chavez at UN
In a sense the Venezuelans are reaping what they sowed. For decades the Universities were Marxists and spewed hatred towards the “bourgeois” and blamed the US for “imperialism” and every evil imaginable. This became government doctrine under the Chaves regime starting 20 years ago. Their anti-Americanism was especially ludicrous during the Obama years, as that administration tried specially to avoid any interference in Venezuela. But alas, the Marxist need a demon to fill in for their own spiritual emptiness.
The Chaves/Maduro Government’s war on its own “bourgeois” and local “capitalist exploiters” resulted in a shut-down of many Venezuelan companies, and wrecked much of its agriculture. Thus under the Chaves/Maduro regime Venezuela became a country that totally depended on oil exportation for its wealth. They are now paying for these delusional and evil policies. To be specific, the Marxist misunderstandings of the sources of wealth and economic growth, and the role of the bourgeois/merchant are not only mistaken and economically destructive, but sinful. Marxist thought and ideology is in large part a system of exaggerated or totally false accusations on others, without consideration of its own faults. In his many writings, the Russian prophet Alexander Solzhenitsyn described the effects of the sins of Marxism on the people of Russia. The pattern is similar to what has, and is, happening in Venezuela.
The implosion of the Venezuelan economy in the last years makes a vivid contract with the country of Colombia, which is right next door, and which has only a tiny fraction of the oil resources of Venezuela. The people of Columbia rightly discerned, after more than 50 years of guerrilla war by the Marxist FARC, that communism is a fraud, as they saw the guerrillas morph from revolutionaries into kidnappers and drug dealers. Again it was the sin issue, Marxists, as atheists, cut themselves off from grace, since they do not pray, and slipped into ever greater evils regardless of their original intentions. Colombians have developed a robust economy with healthy agricultural and industrial components.
In Venezuela, the Maduro administration was particularly corrupt from the beginning. With the luxury of the $100 per barrel price of oil, the Venezuelan lower classes, which benefited from a new, and indeed excellent, national health care system, did not mind.
But now it has all come to roost. The Venezuelan companies that used to gather, distribute and market local produce are no longer there. There is famine. With the big money gone even the health system is in ruins.
Looting a grocery store in Venezuela
According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, markets throughout the country have been looted over 50 times in the first half of the year.
It is difficult to discern how to pray for the current situation. Certainly we all want the best for the Venezuelan people. Should we pray that the Trump Administration move away from its “America First” and lead an intervention? We should certainly pray that the opposition be protected from the armed government goons. We should also pray that in this moment of national despair and chaos, the Venezuelan people turn to God and experience revival. Sadly, the Catholic Charismatic revival of the 1970s to 1980s made little impact in Venezuela. They were mostly content with their nominal Catholicism, and many slipped into “liberation theology” which made it easy for Maduro to slip in his Marxist-populism. The current moment may be a point where Venezuelan Christians, both Catholic and Evangelicals realize that they need the Holy Spirit in their denominations to lead them out of the current sin-laden morass.