What are we going to do about Venezuela?

Our hearts grew proud and big with Hugo Chavez. We watched as the international coup-plotters went down in flames, rejected by the people of Venezuela and defeated by their righteous fury. All so beautiful. Our hearts were the open heart of Jesus, a Jesus no longer turning the other cheek.

And now we watch the leaders of Venezuela disgrace the name socialism.

It is too late, but here is what we should have done years ago.

It was clear, even in Chavez’ time, that the revolution was sustainable only with high oil prices, given the level of bumbling incompetence with which it was run. Great projects were outlined, materials were never delivered, things were half-finished, forgiveness was begged, observers stood aside and rolled their eyes in amusement. Good intentions were accompanied by a dismal level of execution. Or so was my impression.

International sympathy hovered over Chavez’ revolution, but ghostly good wishes were not enough. When you see your brother stumble, you must assist him. Especially if your good name and future prospects are tied to his. He can damage you by failing to meet his own goals and standards, and we must act in self-protection.

Here’s where you’re not going to like what I say. If there’s anything we Americans (and Europeans) are good at, it’s efficiency. It’s planning. It’s getting the whole thing to work like clockwork. It’s our capitalist heritage. We know how to do things. We’ve been trained in the cockpit of competition. We’ve had to become the best. So I say: send in the A-team. Say to Hugo: this thing is bigger than you, and bigger than Venezuela. The hopes and prospects of international socialism ride on your performance. Let us help. We have dozens of experts with experience in construction, agriculture, organization, finance, medicine, production. Let our teams have a look at the problems and then give us a place within your ministries. Listen to us. We want what you want. Let us help you accomplish it.

Resentment, of course, would follow. But those who recognized the common goal would be thankful. There would be tussles; but if this path had been followed, we would not have the godawful unholy mess we have today, a shame and an embarrassment to all of us.

Naive? Yes. Presumptuous? Yes. But what else --- ?