You’d think the British Left would hesitate before taking the side of President Maduro in his latest clash with Juan Guaido. After all, Jeremy Corbyn’s warm words for Maduro’s predecessor – “Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared” – have come back to haunt him. When Chavez assumed power in 1998, 40 per cent of Venezuelan households were living in poverty.
Last year, thanks to the legacy of the man Diane Abbott once lauded for showing “another way is possible”, that figure had climbed to 82 percent. The rate of inflation is predicted to hit 10,000,000 per cent this year and starvation is so widespread that Venezuela is one of the few countries in which infant mortality is on the rise.
Happily, Chavez’s own family won’t be visiting a food bank any time soon. His daughter Maria Gabriela is reported to have $4 billion hidden away in secret European bank accounts. Is that what John McDonnell had in mind when he praised the Chavez regime as “socialism in action”? (To read more, click here.)