What’s at Stake in the Venezuelan Struggle

Years ago, when I went to Venezuela to write a report on the country’s seemingly unstoppable boom, I was told that “God is Venezuelan.” Oil aplenty. Trees grow incredibly fast. Fruit is just an arm’s reach away. Indeed, downtown Caracas featured something I hadn’t—and haven’t—seen anywhere else: an upwardly mobile slum. Poor people would move to Venezuela, borrow some money for a down payment, buy a house, and within a relatively short period, sell it for a profit and move up the ladder of life. Plus, it was a democracy (Arthur Schlesinger was a huge fan). Plus, it was pro-American.

So God was Venezuelan.

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