My colleague, Brad Slager, wrote an excellent post describing Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos’ detention in Venezuela over the weekend. Ramos’ interview with Nicolas Maduro ended abruptly after he showed the embattled dictator his team’s video of starving children eating food they had scavenged from a garbage truck.
Following up on that story, a very grateful, educated and yes, even slightly humbled Ramos offered his personal account of the encounter to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Nothing demonstrates the evils of socialism better than being detained by an angry dictator who has been triggered by a video which portrays his leadership in the harshest light possible. This was clearly a powerful experience and dare I say it, a watershed moment, in Ramos’ life.
Ramos, who is a US citizen, and Hannity have many political differences and have been known to clash spectacularly. In last night’s interview, however, they put their differences aside and Ramos began by offering a heartfelt apology to Hannity and to Fox News for their support during his ordeal. Ramos said:
I know we have many differences on immigration, let’s put those differences aside because when I needed that support the most, I heard that you were talking about us in Venezuela and that was incredibly important. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much Sean. Thanks so much to Fox News.
In those moments when you are detained in a dictatorship, when there’s no one to help you and you see a tweet and you see a report from Fox News or from an American media, you know that you’re not alone and we felt that we were not alone. So mochas gracias.
Ramos, still somewhat shaken from the events of the weekend, recounted his story to Hannity.
It is terrible what’s happening in Venezuela right now. The minimum wage … is $5 — not $5 an hour, or $5 a day — $5 a month. That’s the minimum wage, so that’s why there’s so much hunger.
I had an interview with Nicolas Maduro. It lasted about 17 minutes…But then I showed him the kids that you just showed on a garbage truck and he just couldn’t stand it. He stood up, he tried to cover the image so the cameras wouldn’t be able to see it. And then, I told him – Mr. Maduro – I didn’t call him president. What are you doing? Why don’t you answer the questions? What you are doing is what dictators do.
And then he left and one of his ministers came back. They confiscated four cameras … they took our tape cards where we actually store the interviews, and then they detained us for two hours. They took away our cell phones. At this point, we don’t have the cameras, we don’t have the interview. They gave my cell back, although all the cell phones from my colleagues, they’re still in Venezuela.
Hannity then asked Ramos about socialism. “I’m wondering if you see the dangers, as I do, how socialism does almost universally lead to poverty and false promises.”
What I saw in Venezuela is that the twenty-year-old revolution, it started with Chavez in 1999, has failed completely.
You have more than three million Venezuelans living in the country. Inflation is 1,000,000%. If they pay one bolivar today, it will be a million bolivars in a year from now and people are dying. I went to a hospital, Hospital Vargas, and then one woman, she had lost a family member and you know why, because they didn’t have $30 to pay for antibiotics.
The experiment in Venezuela has failed completely and you know something, I really appreciate the freedom and the liberties that we have here in the United States. You know that I have my differences with President Trump, but this is the difference.
You can criticize the president of the United States and I can go home and nothing happens to me. But, if I criticize the dictator of Venezuela, they confiscate my cameras, they take my interviews, they detain me and then they expel me from the country. Those are two big, big differences.
Hannity then touts the accomplishments of President Trump and asks Ramos, a rabid Trump critic, to comment.
I understand your political point and if you allow me in this case (inaudible) is to concentrate on what I saw in Venezuela and health care in Venezuela. The socialist health care in Venezuela is terrible. I saw this woman who just didn’t have enough money for antibiotics. I saw a family whose five-year-old son is dying because they couldn’t do blood tests in the hospital, so they took his blood in a tooth and they put it in a glass with ice and they had to take it to another place, and the boy most likely will die very soon simply because they don’t have enough medicines.
So that’s what happened with the Venezuelan revolution right now with Nicolas Maduro.
First, let me thank the State Department and the American Embassy in Caracas. Thanks to them, I’m here today in Miami.
Hannity joked, “I think you should just say “I love Donald Trump” and it’ll all be over.”
A genuinely gracious Ramos laughed and said, “Not today Sean, not today. Thank you so much.”
It is essential that every American hear about Ramos’ experience at the hands of a socialist dictator. Ramos, like most journalists, is very liberal and here he is announcing that the twenty-year-old socialist revolution has “failed completely.” He now “really appreciates the freedom and liberties that we have here in the US.”
He tells Sean he can criticize the US President and nothing happens to him, but when he criticizes the Venezuelan dictator, his possessions are confiscated and he is thrown into a dark room.
Ramos asks Maduro, “Why don’t you answer the questions? What you are doing is what dictators do.”
Because, Jorge, Maduro is a dictator.
Democrats, in greater numbers, are now openly embracing socialism. While they have in recent years promoted many socialist programs and ideas, they’ve been reluctant to call their agenda socialism. Recently, however, they’ve dropped their masks entirely, as they unabashedly call on Americans to support their Green New Deal.
Although most Democrats stop short of calling themselves socialists, others are proud to do so.
The image of starving children eating food out of an open garbage truck is difficult to forget and belies the idea of a socialist utopia.
Socialism is gaining in popularity throughout America, especially among our youth population who see it as a “hip” philosophy. And they are the ones who need to hear Ramos’ story the most.