When Hugo Chavez turned Venezuela into a socialist state, he started with the oil industry. In 2007, leftists around the world rejoiced when the strongman ordered a government takeover of the industry to fund government handouts and more welfare programs.
Socialist scholar Noam Chomsky praised Chavez. Progressive author David Sirota called it an “economic miracle.” Scores of Hollywood A-listers jetted to Venezuela for photo-ops. Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Danny Glover all stood with Chavez and bashed America.
Chavez fired thousands of oil employees, executives and workers, replacing them with 80,000 political operatives. When Chavez threatened foreign corporations, they abandoned Venezuela, taking billions of dollars in investment with them. Big Socialism failed to produce the same amount of oil for the same cost, and Venezuela’s economy began its inevitable collapse.