Nearly 2 million Venezuelans have left the country since Hugo Chavez assumed power in 1999. Naturally, their common places of destination — Colombia, Panama, Spain, United States — enjoy significantly higher degrees of economic freedom than Venezuela currently does.It is small wonder why socialist countries are marked by large diasporas.As the economist Milton Friedman sagaciously observed, people “vote with their feet” when government policy becomes too oppressive and makes earning a living next to impossible in their country of origin.The 35,000 Venezuelans that made their way over to Colombia effectively casted a vote of no confidence in Venezuela’s irrational, political system. Instead of waiting in an endless line to buy goods or rely on a black market that has become increasingly co-opted by the government, these brave individuals decided to exercise their liberty as consumers and go to a country with a modicum of economic freedom.More than just a series of economic transactions, the aforementioned movement of people is a veritable form of civil disobedience. Tyrannical regimes despise a citizenry that votes with its feet and take its talents and purchasing power abroad.Many seem to overlook that the fall of Berlin Wall was not so much a top-down decision made by political elites, but rather an organic uprising spurred by individuals that were frustrated with the totalitarian status quo. It was the determination of the countless individuals who saw through the illusion of socialism that led to the ultimate collapse of one of the most totalitarian systems that the world has ever seen.Now it’s Venezuela’s turn to knock down its proverbial Berlin Wall and let economic freedom and the rule of law be the order of the day.
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