A Venezuelan political exile in Brazil talks about life under socialism

Are you wondering what’s happening in Venezuela? We’ve interviewed Venezuelan Rafael Valera, a political exile in Brazil since 2017. We’ve asked him a few questions regarding the damages of socialism in his country, the role of the USA and Brazil in this crisis, and what life is like for ordinary Venezuelans.

Once an emerging economy abundant in oil and mineral resources, Venezuela is an example of what not to do when it comes to government regime and economic policies. To be precise, socialism doesn’t work and it must be remembered generation after generation as much as the Holocaust, Holodomor, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Otherwise, Brazil, Argentina and any other country in Latin America could follow the socialist road, blinded by free stuff.

BU: The only people who think socialism works are the ones who have never lived under socialism. For those Marxist millennials who love to say “But that wasn’t real socialism…” how does socialism in real life look like?

Valera: Socialism has many faces —needless to say: all of them disgustingly ugly. It can have the face of hunger, or the face of misery. It can also have the cold face of a 9 year-old dying in the middle of the deadly road to a new home. Or the face of a 14 year-old with a hole in his chest because he was shot at with a tear-gas bomb.

But the worst of them all, is the face of treachery. Not treachery against someone else, but against the human soul itself. Those who try to determine reality based on the subjective needs of the revolution have given away their soul seeking to bring death, trauma and torture upon innocent lives.

I could say: go to Venezuela! Go to Cuba! But it would be of no use. They’re trapped in a meticulous mental framework that’s based on the denial of reality. They will only realize the true and despicable nature of the system they defend once they are no longer of use for the revolution and the only fate that’s left for them is the bullet shot by their own “comrades.”

For a young person in Venezuela, what are the life perspectives? What are people doing for a living?

Survival. Venezuela’s currently going under the normalization of a socioeconomic bubble: the dollar is the de facto national currency but all prices and salaries are constantly spiking. So, life stopped being scarce and started being unaffordable. It’s still unbearable. But most young Venezuelans that remain in the country are gathering all the money they can so they can eventually flee like millions of others.

What’s the role of the USA government regarding the Venezuelan crisis?

If I’m being completely honest, a poor one. President Trump talked the talk but when he had to walk the walk, he did it in the worst way. He supported the controlled opposition, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave them a billion dollars and they stole the money. By doing so, Trump perpetuated the socialism he said he was fighting. But it’s no surprise for me. His foreign-policy team was the worst: all neocon garbage, not a single decent human being. I’m talking about Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Mauricio Claver-Carone, Elliot Abrams. These last two plotted against my team to thwart a great transition plan we had proposed. They articulated in favor of Juan Guaidó and the rest of the controlled opposition.

And what’s the role of Brazil regarding the Venezuelan crisis?

Very, very different from the North. Brazil has been our best friend. The Operação Acolhida has done an amazing job in regularizing Venezuelans that have been coming to Brazil. The Bolsonaro government has taught Venezuelans the Portuguese language and has made possible a controlled migration process, distributing Venezuelans around the national map.

Is Bolsonaro’s government dealing with the Venezuelan crisis as the previous governments?

Thank God, no! The fundamental difference between Bolsonaro’s government and the ones that preceded his is that the latter helped to create the crisis. Nine-Fingered Lula and Dummy Dilma funded the Venezuelan regime with taxpayer money through BNDES [ed. note: a public bank focused on promoting the economy]. My country’s downfall is because of them.

Bolsonaro beat them in 2018. He also cut the funds of the Brazilian mainstream media that helped normalize the Venezuelan genocide press-wise. He didn’t fund the Chavez regime and he has received a lot of us in Brazil. So we Venezuelans thank him big time!

What do you think about professors and college kids from the USA and the UK doing an exchange program in Venezuela?

If I’m not mistaken there are very few, if not none of them in Venezuela. If there are, they should leave. It’s not safe or good for them.

Since long-term issues are not evident and can be determined by the predominant ideas in a society, what are the trends for Venezuela?

If by trends you mean the possible future of Venezuela, I hope they change as soon as possible. Venezuelans don’t want socialism, we despise it. Such a beautiful nation deserves better, way better. And me and my team are working towards that. Towards a great, strong, sovereign and free Venezuela.

How is organized crime running in Venezuela? What are the implications for Latin America and the USA?

They control the political system, so it’s safe to say they’re running free and comfortably. The implications are well-known: the drug smuggling business gained great forces with Venezuela as the logistic operator. On the other hand, terrorism also gained a very strategic hub. Islamic and narco-terrorism have established in Venezuela and control close to 50% of the territory, being Isla Margarita one of the most important zones for Hezbollah in the region.

That network has renewed the deadly forces of the revolutionary movement and you can see the results: the regime is still in power, Lula is free, Trump is no longer in office and the São Paulo Forum strives.

Since Venezuela has become a narcostate, are there “cracolândias” ("crack-smoking land") as seen in Brazilian big cities?

Venezuela is currently a big cracolândia with beautiful landscapes, on top of rich lands. That’s what socialism does. It takes the most beautiful thing and turns it into a pile of reeking garbage.

How is the media run in Venezuela?

No media outlet in Venezuela shows the true, factual reality of the country and its problems, because they’re either funded by the regime or their proxy opposition, who’s also funded by the regime’s frontmen like Raúl Gorrín, who’s indicted in the US for bribery and in Spain for money laundering.

Venezuela is a weird place where everybody sees the Matrix isn’t real but no one is allowed to address it. If you do, you now have to choose which one comes first: the jail cell or the bullet.

Is internet available in Venezuela? How deep is its control by the government?

The access to the internet is not State-controlled, but it’s very expensive and very deficient. But the regime controls what you see and, to a certain degree, what you say: you cannot access certain websites, and you cannot say certain things.

For example, you can flip the bird to the regime on Twitter once or twice. But if you create a buzz around you and if your message is genuinely against them, you’ll end up like the rest: dead, imprisoned or forced into exile.

What is the position of the churches in Venezuela in relation to the socialist regime? Is there religious freedom in the country?

The Venezuelan Catholic church is quite cautious, politically speaking. I don’t like them being kind of close with the proxy opposition —but that’s the elite, though. Socially speaking, the church has done a great job palliating hunger and poverty within its possibilities, and educating the people, which is always necessary under any circumstance, specially under socialist regimes.

Evangelical churches, on the other hand, are closer to the regime. They’re much left-leaning. There’s a pastor called Javier Bertucci, who’s like the most important pastor in Venezuela and he’s a hardcore puppet of the chavistas, and he also works with organized crime.

The regime doesn’t mess with religious freedom like other Communist regimes because its strategy is to infiltrate religion with santería, macumba in Brazilian terms, or voodoo. The mystic component of the chavista revolution is that, a sincretic galvanization of christianity, santería and gnostic worship of criminals called “Corte Malandra” or Holy Thugs.

What is the internal repercussion about Nicolas Maduro being a wanted person by the US authorities under the US$ 15-million reward?

Do you see him arrested?

Is there private property and economic freedom in Venezuela yet?

As much as it tactically serves the regime. Think of private property in Venezuela like the SOMA drug in Huxley’s Brave New World. Huxley’s characters needed it to calm themselves, but their leaders provided them for tactical purposes, in their socially-engineered ecology. For instance, in Venezuela the regime’s frontmen have business in certain areas just for money-laundering purposes. Therefore they allow the common folk to thrive in these areas so the dirty money gets in the mix and becomes untraceable.

How far is possible to thrive in Venezuela without connections in the government?

It’s possible. But then again, it depends on the area. If it’s fast food, which is important in Venezuela, it’s more possible. If it’s related to the primary sector of the economy, you’re screwed.

Either way it’s terrible, because if it isn’t connections with the regime, it’s the inflation, or the regime’s gangs demanding you to pay some tax, or their police corps, or the guerrilla. So it’s a monster that’ll end up eating you sooner or later.

What has happened to the astonishing beaches and resorts along the Venezuelan coast? Is tourism operating?

Tourism is an arid sector of the economy. It’s tied to the problems the country has with energy and water, not to mention how expensive everything is due to the bubble I mentioned earlier.

Now the beaches. In Venezuela there’s not only a genocide going on, but also an ecocide. Oil spills are damaging our beautiful beaches, and in the south, in our Amazon, there’s an ongoing invasion of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian military to exploit our soil. Illegal mining is destroying our southern region, destroying one of the prettiest places of Venezuela. Tourism was heavy in that region too, and it has become almost nonexistent and quite dangerous.


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