Funny you should mention Venezuela. You can swim to there from here (Literally, some sport people have swam it, like some swim across the English channel) I’ve been there a lot. The problem with Venezuela has been a gross mishandling of assets. You can blame this on a political system if you wish, but I am tempted to think stupid moves will remain stupid moves regardless of the ideology one subscribes to.
Currently, Aruba is listed one of the richest, if not the richest, country in the Caribbean. And the beginnings of this wealth are fully thanks to the LAGO refinery. At one point the second largest refinery in the world. And the crude came from lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.
Aruba has practically nothing. Some nice beaches, sure, but we can’t grow much, there’s no natural resources not even a natural harbor. When the Spanish came this way they named it “isla inutíl”; useless island.
Over the years the refinery has become obsolete and been closed and resold a couple of times. Our economy switched to tourism. But we would not be where we are today had it not been for the wealth that leaked out of Venezuela.
The thing I see when I look at the mess there, is not a warning about socialism. It’s a warning about what happens when you bleed your population dry, when you force people into poverty by overworking and underpaying them. What happens when you remove the money an economy needs to keep going. What happens when the rich start hiring armed guards to patrol the walls around their mansions. What happens when you get to the point that you need soldiers on the corners of every street just to keep the population under control. I’ve been there. I’ve seen those armed soldiers. It was not very fun to shop in Caracas. I’ve also seen the riches they can grow on the land and the fresh strawberry vendors all over the country. Who can’t really ask much, because people just don’t have the money to pay. It’s not the top earners that keep the wheels turning. It’s the masses who have coins burning in their pockets that they want to spend.