History is replete with powerful men who rise to power from ashes. Sometimes they are a force for positive change in the nations they rule, and sometimes history will judge them harshly for their path of destruction. The latter is the case for the Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, who did humanity a favor yesterday by dying in middle age.

Photo: Hugo Chavez (right), Barack Obama (left)

The world had seen this movie before, but we don’t always learn from history. After the fall of communism in eastern Europe after a decades long political experiment judged it an abysmal failure, I never thought I’d see the day when communism would seem attractive again anywhere in the world.

Although the press usually refers to Hugo Chavez as a “socialist” he was in fact a communist. He nationalized industry in Venezuela, confiscated properly at will, and set the courts against anyone who didn’t fit into his ambitions. The thuggery predictably decimated the middle class just as the failed experiment did in the Soviet Union. He was a thug in his own country who silenced the opposition and consolidated power over the last decade to the people’s detriment. It’s what communists and their kissing cousins the socialists do to societies.

I have a personal animosity toward Hugo Chavez. One of our long-time writers, not on this site but on another blog, has the misfortune of living there. During Hugo Chavez’ reign of communist policies, their once middle class family became paupers under the boot of state. They tried to escape the country but there was no way out for their family. Hopefully that can change now.

The world will be a better place now that Hugo Chavez is dead. Under the guise of “socialism” he wrecked his people’s present and its future for a long, long time. We have a socialist in the White House now because Americans also never learned the lesson of history, and we are suffering the economic consequences. I fear that someday Obama will be judged as harshly as Hugo Chavez.