Latin America has throughout its history been required to endure attempts at imposing collectivist institutions, resulting in a type of poor economic performance comprised of sluggish development, blatant inequalities in the distribution of wealth, widespread poverty, anti-productive and stagnating distribution of huge reserves of wealth, all of which when taken together lead to an idiosyncratic social regime lacking the capacity to administer a fantastic earthly paradise. Since its discovery and throughout the modern era the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, in a number of different guises: adventurers, conquistadors, Catholic missionaries, official plenipotentiaries of the royal courts, established feudal collectivism throughout the length and breadth of Latin America, with conspicuous features of a stagnant serfdom, immobilizing the social dynamic and paralysing economic growth through all its history up until the present day.
The diametrically opposite approach was pursued in North America! Albeit poorer in productive resources, the first settlers, with Anglo-Saxons the predominant element, adopted individualistic institutions: the free market, property rights, the rule of law, democratic representation and polycentric exercise and control of political power. This was the touchstone for the success of a poorer North America as against a more resource-rich Latin America. The institutions of individual liberty and free enterprise, the civilization of a flourishing open community, counteracted the disadvantages of a more adverse geophysical situation, demonstrating that prosperity is a function of freedom, the most precious patrimony than can be bestowed upon a human being during his sojourn upon this earth.
Marked by its discovery by feudalistic collectivism, Latin America even in the nineteenth to twentieth century when its first independent states were established opted to persist with failed collectivist organizational schemes. The insatiable populism of a Peron, the ponderous socialism of an Allende, the armour-clad Communism of a Castro, not to mention the naivety of Che-Guevara-style permanent revolution: all variants on a collectivist compendium of idea and principles that dragoon the individual into a forced march under the direction of societies that identify themselves with, or have been subordinated to, the arbitrary rule of an uncontrolled and uncontrollable leader. Their only legitimation derives from the notion that they express society as a whole, that they, and only they, truly represent the people. Every other view different from their own is instigated by enemies of the people, against the people.
In Latin America in our day the same bankrupt leadership model is being reproduced. Venezuela is the protagonist along the path to a new failure that will plunge it even deeper into the morass of poverty and arbitrary rule. Maduro’s power is growing ever more imperial, carried out by personal edict, gradually eliminating the liberties preserved by his country’s pluralistic institutions. In the economic field he is following the road of absolute personal control under the mantle of socialization. The oil that is Venezuela’s people patrimony, remains strictly in the hands of Maduro. In a few years when his nationalized oil wells and mines will need the investments and new technical expertise that his bureaucratic, populist, and monolithic socialist party power will be unable to provide, he will have to resort even to importing petrol. This is already visible elsewhere in the economy with the frightful shortages of goods in the supermarkets of Venezuela, owing to his foolish policy inherited from the Chavez years of freezing prices by decree. Instead of perceiving his mistake he has chosen to compound it by planning for nationalization of the supermarkets and more.
Maduro is extending the collectivist model, justifying his failures to the people of Venezuela with the argument that he is being undermined by the United States. It is the easy, makeshift solution chosen by all wielders of arbitrary power: the attribution of their failure to the actions of their “enemies”. The truth is that Maduro is writing the blackest requiem to the collectivist leadership model in Latin America. It would be exactly the same, even if Chavez had not died. The fatal destiny for socialism both in Venezuela and in Latin America.