In her new book, How Progressivism Destroyed Venezuela, Venezuelan-born activist Elizabeth Rogliani explores the causes of the disaster facing this proud and once prosperous nation. The author, who lived through many of the events she describes, tells “How a population that was well on its way to first-world status threw it all away with a single vote. And how liberties, once taken for granted, were taken away one by one.”
The book begins with a discussion of the historical background of Venezuela and the events that led to the rise of Chavez, narrated in a manner easily understandable for readers who are not familiar with it. Rogliani’s insightful analysis shows how the corruption of previous regimes and the implementation of progressive ideas led to the election of the late Hugo Chavez in 1998. Despite his violent past, for which he served time in prison, Rogliani says that the day Chavez was elected president, many people were filled with hope for the future. But despite his promise to restore the country to its former glory, Hugo Chavez allied himself with Fidel Castro and traded much of the country’s oil resources to Cuba in exchange for political support. What was once a free and prosperous nation continued its collapse under the leadership of Chavez.
Rogliani discusses the events, policies, and attitudes that defined the late Hugo Chavez Frias’s government and how his rule became entrenched, through, among other methods, his manipulation of the electoral process, despite its colossal failures and popular protests against his authoritarian regime.
She presents the facts as she saw them growing up during those tumultuous times, without being afraid to discuss sensitive topics or offending people of opposing political views. Despite being shielded by childhood innocence, Rogliani remembers how the people around her reacted to the events she lived through and what she saw on the streets and on television during those times. As an adult, she came to see the parallels between Venezuela and Cuba, and she understood how Cuban domination had affected the economy and society.
Anyone reading Rogliani’s book will be able to draw parallels with Western society, and the United States in particular, as so many of the “reforms” advocated by today’s progressives resemble those of the Chavez regime. Like many Venezuelans at that time, much the general public in the West does not realizes what these policies can lead to. Things such as the destruction of the energy sector, leading to gas rationing in the oil rich nation, the censorship of books, movies, and television shows, the toppling of statues, and the subversion of the educational system and the media to the interests of the regime, along with the undermining family and religious values led to the destruction of Venezuela. It all began with so-called “reforms” meant to promote social equity, which in reality undermined a previously well-functioning system and worked to abolish traditional culture, undermining religion and the family, and subordinating everything to the service of the regime.
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Words like “Freedom” and “Justice” were frequently used in an Orwellian sense. Rogliani describes how the government would use state-sponsored terror, kidnappings, and employ gangs of thugs to maintain control over the population, much like we see in the United States where the Democrat Party employs Antifa and BLM for similar purposes. She discusses the attack on press freedom, telling Chavez revoked the license of the oldest private television network in Venezuela for reporting on the violent government-sponsored attacks on peaceful protesters. This was the complete opposite of the promise he had made during his presidential campaign to “defend freedom of the press.” Immediately after broadcasting of the old channel was interrupted, a new one took its place, dedicated solely to pro-Chavez propaganda. We’ve seen this in the past in places like Ceausescu’s Romania and in North Korea. Today, under the leadership of Nicholas Maduro, Chavez’s hand-picked successor, the opposition press is barely tolerated and must operate under strict censorship.
As the book demonstrates, Venezuela is still in the grips of Hugo Chavez even after his death. Elizabeth Rogliani wrote her book in her adoptive country, the United States. She left her home as a teenager in hopes of finding true freedom. However, she warns that no one is safe from the threat of progressivism, and the words “it can’t happen here” reflect the ignorance of complacent people. Drawing parallels between her native and adoptive countries, Rogliani warns “The country that welcomed me has, little by little, been losing those founding principles which made it what it was. Institutions systematically attack their traditional values and push for a more Orwellian world. Little by little, the vestiges of this great nation are being lost…”
She concludes this insightful thought-provoking book by quoting former President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
The book is truly a cautionary tale, showing how easy it is to destroy the social structure and economy of a country, threatening to undermine individual freedom and leave entire generations at the mercy of corrupt authoritarian governments.
How Progressivism Destroyed Venezuela: A Cautionary Tale by Elizabeth Rogliani is published by Gaudium Publishing, an imprint of Histria Books and is available from all major book retailers.
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