Venezuela’s air is thick with tear
 gas and its streets are stained
 with the blood of its youth.
The South American nation
has been reduced to a battlefield
 as government forces brutally
pummel protestors. For the
 past 50 days, Venezuelans
 throughout the country have
 taken to the streets in anti-
government uprisings.
With approval ratings in the
 teens, the socialist and criminal
regime of President Nicolas
Maduro appears to be on its
 last legs.
Hundreds of thousands of
 protestors continue pouring
into the streets, demanding an
 end to the corruption that has
bankrupted the world’s most
oil-rich nation.
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Maduro has predictably
 responded to this pressure
 with more violence.
Nearly 50 Venezuelans have
been killed in the protests in the
 past two months, and more
 deaths will likely follow if the
 government follows through
 on its plan of deploying
military snipers to tame the
Such a plan, coupled with the
 repeated threats from Maduro
 himself, puts the fragility of
his political creed on full display.
 Socialism is a scam best
understood by those who sell
it and, eventually, the ones
swindled by it.
Over 20 years ago, under the
 banner of socialism and its
 endless list of impossible
 promises, demagogues
hijacked Venezuela’s
government, dismantled civil
society, and crippled the national
Led by Maduro’s deceased
predecessor, Hugo Chavez,
 the socialists implemented
measures that crippled the
private sector and triggered
 massive capital flights and
 brain drains.
Growing up in Chavez’s
Venezuela is the defining
experience of my life. The
 country was collapsing and
 no one seemed to be able to
stop it. The opposition was
persecuted, journalists were
silenced, peaceful protesters
were murdered, and crime
 was rampant.
As a kid, the crisis was evident
to me when it was no longer
safe to play baseball in the
 streets, when my parents 
whispered about yet another 
kidnapping in the neighborhood, 
or when my grandmother 
returned home teary-eyed 
after being mugged.
My parents, like many others
at the time, recognized that
 the country’s decay was
imminent. The socialist party’s
grip over government institutions
 grew stronger and, in turn,
 those institutions grew more
 impotent in dealing with the
 looming crises.
The gradual and continued
 breakdown of the separation
of powers meant that the rule
of law would further erode,
and the situation would grow
more dire.
So, with a heavy heart but with
a firm understating of what was
 to come, my parents left
everything behind to give our
 family a second chance here
in the U.S.
This second chance allowed
my brother and I to know and
grow up in a country whose
society is at its best when
individuals are empowered,
not burdened, by the government.
This is a nation where civil
 society and strong families
are the driving force of its
 national vitality—where hard
work is rewarded and success
 is praised, not envied.
Ten years on, my parents’
sacrifice is still a constant
 reminder of the important
 lessons I learned in Caracas
and the blessings I enjoy here
in America.
Venezuela’s current struggle
 is fueled by people who yearn
 for similar blessings, and there
 is reason to hope for their
As Maduro’s socialist regime
 wages merciless war on its
own citizens—who are
starved for food and freedom
pressure has continued to
mount on him, and the strain
is beginning to show.

Venezuelans have increasingly taken
 to the streets in recent months to
protest against the Maduro regime.
(Photo: AndrÃs Gerlotti/newzulu/Newscom)
Abroad, Venezuela’s regional
allies, famous for turning a blind
 eye to abuses in exchange for
financial incentives, have
 spoken out against Maduro’s
violent repression.
International organizations of
 large standing have rallied to
 penalize the regime in attempts
 to dissuade it from further
 escalating force against
unarmed civilians.
In the U.S., President Donald
 Trump has swiftly acted to end
his predecessor’s eight years
 of complicit silence, voicing
 support for political prisoners
 and issuing sanctions against
corrupt officials.
In spite of being historically
 fractious, Maduro’s political
opposition is now galvanized
against him. They have sought
 to maintain momentum in the
 streets and have unanimously
 rejected Maduro’s attempt to
rewrite the constitution.
But perhaps the most telling
 sign of cracks in the internal
regime is the attorney general’s
unprecedented public break
 with the government.
History has repeatedly shown
socialism to be a corrupt and
destructive force, and there is
 no better example of this than
 in today’s Venezuela.