Venezuela’s political issues are slowly turning into a complete crisis but there is constant pressure from mainstream media in the UK on Jeremy Corbyn and the left to condemn actions of this supposed ‘socialist’ state, but why? Firstly, there is no evidence to suggest the notion that ‘socialism killed Venezuela and if the left must condemn the Venezuela, then by this idea the right must condemn Saudi Arabia, Israel, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and all the other far-right governments.

Of course, the idea is ridiculous and if anyone claims, ‘socialism killed Venezuela’, then they have no knowledge of the situation and are prone to propaganda by the far-right.

The lie of the land

There are three important factors that this lie ignores, firstly, the ruling party of Venezuela have won 12 of the 15 major elections between 1998 and 2015. On these occasions, they have won them cleanly and when they have faced a rare defeat, they have immediately conceded. The decision by the US to invoke the Inter-America Democratic Charter against Venezuela was completely unwarranted. Secondly, despite the government moving away from free-market capitalism, they are not a socialist state because the private sector rather than the state or the social economy control most of the country’s Economic Activity. Between 1999 and 2011 private economic activity increased to 71% from 65%.

Lastly, government economic mismanagement in recent years. However, this is not evidence that they mismanaged it throughout their 17 and half years of government. During Chávez’s years as president, Venezuela saw significant growth, this was helped by the oil boom between 2003-08 but this period also saw the non-oil sector grow faster and government reserves increase.

Plus, inflation and unemployment was significantly lower during this period. There were three major errors that Chávez made, he failed to tackle corruption effectively with $100 billion estimated to be diverted this way, dismantle the currency controls after their purpose had been served and wean Venezuela off their extreme dependence on oil.

There is an argument that the reason Venezuela has hit such a crisis, is that they haven’t had enough socialist policies, because during the boom and Chávez’s reign, there was significant spending on healthcare, housing, education and social services and that saw a decrease in poverty, child malnutrition and inequality. Along with an increase of school university enrollments and quadrupling the number of pensioners. If corruption were to be tackled, moving away from an oil dependent economy and more control for communities, Venezuela could start to be put back on track. But it needs support from other nations like the US, not sanctions against them.