Food for Venezuela
This year marked the official end of the conflict between the Colombian Government and the FARC. This conflict is especially interesting to me for it’s policy implications for the United States. In this conflict the US picked the side of the Colombian government vs. an insurgency at least nominally supported by the Soviet Union. This fight starts in the 1950s, spanning just about 65 years. It marks possibly the only time the United States correctly picked a winner in a civil war. Direct US action in Colombia was minimal compared to other actions of the time. In the end the Colombian Government had just barley strength to keep things going and allow a (traditionally defined; AKA free market) liberal economy to grow and eventually that prosperity sapped the desire to fight.
Venezuela has entered a period that in many way is remarkable similar and sadly the current Statesmen don’t seem to see the opportunity to help Venezuela and greatly help ourselves in the process.
If you haven’t thought about Venezuela much in the last year I wouldn’t blame you. It was only the occasional blip on the regular news outlets as the country is on the verge of mass starvation, has conscripted huge portions of its populations to forced labor, and hundreds of thousands are trying to flee. The humanitarian crisis is very real, and sadly the United States as stood by and offered nothing.
Right now Venezuela needs food. The United States has excess production. Just this year the United States over produced nearly a billion pounds of cheese. We still grow corn to turn into ethanol when oil remains extremely cheap, with excess capacity across the United States and Canada. It would cost remarkable little to provide the need relief and give a shining example of what an liberal economy can produce.
I can image no easier way to demonstrate to the people that communism and dictatorship work as poorly today as it did Bolshevik’s. It can silence one of the United States loudest critics on the continent, provide much need international exposure of the good the United States dose, rather than constantly point out our war efforts, and again show the United States leads while Europe and other powers follow.
From a less human stand point Venezuela also has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. That oil can only be processed into useable products in Houston Texas. Securing another source of fuel can only be in our best interest. A stable and productive Venezuela can become source of trade long term, just as Colombia has become now.
Open links to Russia, Iran and even North Korea are troubling and can easily be put to rest at low cost. The United States even sold food below market rate to Iraq after we had an actual war with them.
There is in many ways a shared heritage from colonial days to present between the United States and Venezuela. There have been missteps by everyone in the last few hundred years but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the time to bury the hatch and grow together.
I hope with a new Administration Venezuela can be looked at with fresh eye and see we have the opportunity to create a long and lasting partnership by providing food now.