Venezuela will Stay Socialist…

…for a good while longer.

From Reason magazine:

“Surely, by the time local governors start saying things like “We are capable of eating a stick, or instead of frying two eggs, fry two rocks, and we will eat fried rocks” on the radio, things can’t go on like this much longer, can they?

Maybe they can. Considering its galloping economic dysfunction, Venezuela’s government remains relatively popular. A recent poll found 31 percent of Venezuelans think President Nicolás Maduro is doing a good job. Other polls have him a smidgen lower. (While the country is slipping ever faster into repression, reputable polling continues to be carried out and, if anything, tends to undercount the government’s supporters.)

The numbers Maduro is pulling are nobody’s idea of good approval ratings, granted, but he remains more popular than plenty of other Latin American leaders whose economies are doing much, much better than Venezuela’s: Chile’s Michelle Bachelet is at 26 percent approval, Peru’s Ollanta Humala is at 15 percent, and just ahead of her ouster earlier this month, Brazil’s Dilma Roussef was at 9 percent. That’s the kind of number that gets you thrown out of office in South America, not 31 percent.

How can Maduro possibly have retained the support of a third of the country? The best answer is that chavismo, the political movement Hugo Chávez created and handed off to Maduro after his death in 2013, isn’t really a political movement. It’s closer to a kind of religious cult, with Chávez himself—whom his supporters now refer to as El Comandante Eterno—at the center of the pantheon.”

People are loyal to their idols, and will prefer to die with them than admit they were wrong.

 

Sure, Stalin, Hitler & Mao murdered their tens, even hundreds of millions: but a significant fraction willingly died for them. So it is with Maduro – on a smaller, less epic scale.

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