Venezuela descends into chaos. Its people, once the wealthiest in Latin America, starve. Even The New York Times runs headlines like “Dying Infants and No Medicine.”
My Venezuelan-born friend Kenny says his relatives are speaking differently. Cousins who once answered “Fine” or “Good” when asked, “How are you?” now say, “We’re eating.”
Eating is a big deal in the country that’s given birth to jokes about a “Venezuelan diet.” A survey by three universities found 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average 19 pounds this year.
So are American celebrities who championed Venezuela’s “people’s revolution” embarrassed? Will they admit they were wrong?
“No,” says linguist and political writer Noam Chomsky. “I was right.”
Actor Sean Penn met with Hugo Chavez several times and claimed Chavez did “incredible things for the 80 percent of the people that are very poor.”
Oliver Stone made a film that fawned over Chavez and Latin American socialism. Chavez joined Stone in Venice for the film’s premiere.
Michael Moore praised Chavez for eliminating “75 percent of extreme poverty.”