It is safe to predict that more countries will refuse to learn from history and give socialism a go.
Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results… When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore.
Last Sunday, Nicholas Casey of The New York Times reported in an article Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals,
By morning, three newborns were already dead. The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward. Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died… The economic crisis in this country has exploded into a public health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans.
I start with these rather long quotations with a heavy heart. Contrary to Sirota’s glib prediction, I do not intend to laugh off as “harmless and forgettable” Venezuela’s “cautionary tale about the perils of command economics.” I do not find dying children laughable. But then, I did not laugh when I read about starving Ukrainians eating their children during Stalin’s Holodomor.
I did not laugh when I read of Khmer Rouge soldiers shooting infants off their bayonets in communist Cambodia. And I certainly did not laugh when I saw with my own two eyes children reduced to starvation by the Marxist dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. In fact, there is nothing laughable about the almost incomprehensible degree of suffering that socialism has heaped upon humanity wherever it’s been tried. Read the rest of this entry »
Khmer Rouge security officials used acid and pliers to torture inmates and disemboweled a detainee and consumed their organs, according to witness testimony given in Phnom Penh this week.
On Monday, former prisoner Keo Chandara told the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) — a tribunal created to investigate the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge — that guards used pliers and acid to torture female detainees incarcerated at the Kraing Tachan security center.
According to his testimony, prison guards at the facility would use the pliers to lacerate the inmates before pouring acid into the wounds. If the detainees passed out due to the excessive pain, the overseers would then use water to revive them.
“About 10 prisoners who were ordered to sit and watch the torture,” said Chandara, reports the Cambodia Daily.
During one particularly gruesome episode, Chandara said the guards hanged one prisoner by…
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(PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) —Justine Drennan reports: Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea denied all charges against him Thursday on the last day of a trial for the surviving leaders of the 1970s Cambodian regime widely blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people.
The ailing 87-year-old Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, and 82-year-old Khieu Samphan, its head of state, are charged by the Khmer Rouge tribunal with genocide and crimes against humanity. The charges include torture, enslavement and murder for their roles in the radical communist regime nearly 40 years ago.
Hundreds of survivors and onlookers crowded the courtroom and the tribunal’s grounds to hear the two aged defendants speak. Khieu Samphan is expected to make his statement later Thursday. A verdict is expected in the first half of 2014, more than two years after the trial began. Read the rest of this entry »
Reason and faith go hand in hand in the pursuit of truth, but it’s the belief systems employed that serves as that pursuit’s moral grounding.