Like many Republicans, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s running for president, frequently rails against socialism. He declared a “victims of communism day” in Florida so citizens can “learn about the dangers posed by socialism around the world and here at home.” He purged favorable references to socialism from textbooks used in Florida schools, and he derides colleges teaching liberal values as “socialism factories.”
So you might think DeSantis would sympathize with migrants fleeing the repressive socialism he vilifies, in broken countries such as Venezuela and Cuba, in search of a better life under American capitalism. Um, no. DeSantis and other top Republicans are as hostile to such migrants as if they were coming to America to spread the evils of socialism itself.
DeSantis seems to be behind a weird scheme to fly migrants arriving in Texas (not Florida) to blue states and cities, such as the recent delivery of two flights of migrants to Sacramento. DeSantis helped engineer the similar delivery of 48 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., last September. And last month, DeSantis signed a stringent new law meant to hunt down undocumented workers in Florida, which is now causing labor shortages at many local businesses, especially farms.
DeSantis isn’t the only Republican breathing fire onto socialists. In February, the House of Representatives, under Republican control, passed a resolution denouncing socialism. Former President Donald Trump, who hopes to win another term in 2024, still rants against socialism in his stump speeches. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas is another anti-socialist Republican sending actual victims of socialism to Democratic cities as an effort to own the libs.
The ongoing surge of migrants at the southwest border is a thorny problem with no silver-bullet solution. Most migrants are fleeing their homelands out of desperation, with the hope of finding work and a better life in America. The United States obviously can’t let everybody in. The Biden administration is trying to roll out online systems allowing people to apply for visas in their home countries, while speeding up migrant hearings and tightening other rules meant to discourage people from streaming to the border.
Venezuela and Cuba are among the top sources of migrants at the US border. If you want textbook examples of the ravages of socialism, look no further. Venezuela’s confiscation of most of its private-sector organizations during the last 20 years produced a failing state that can’t feed its own people, despite oil reserves that should make it a middle-income country or better. Cuba nationalized its private sector after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and now boasts crumbling buildings, long lines for basics, and the occasional mass-arrest of citizens protesting decades of austerity.
If you loathe socialism, then people fleeing Venezuela and Cuba for America are doing exactly what you want: Rejecting the failures of a nationalized economy and embracing the meritocracy of US-style capitalism. They’re also enduring treachery and hardship on their journey to the US border that most Americans probably couldn’t withstand. That’s a stronger endorsement of capitalism than any speech by a politician or symbolic piece of legislation.
Even if the United States can’t let all the true socialism-haters in, there should be a measure of appreciation and maybe even applause for what they are doing. Instead, America’s capitalist grandstanders mete out scorn and belittlement.
The DeSantis operation reportedly tricks migrants who manage to cross the border into thinking well-wishers have jobs and housing lined up for them somewhere. They get on a bus or a plane, and end up dumped in some liberal enclave where there’s no shelter and no job, with local authorities stuck figuring out what to do with them. Most of the migrants duped into flying to Martha’s Vineyard last year, and to Sacramento recently, were Venezuelans.
The point DeSantis is trying to make is that northeastern and coastal liberals criticizing how border states handle migrants should have to bear some of the burden themselves. It would be a fair point, if DeSantis weren’t cruelly manipulating strivers who resemble the original American settlers in their quest for a better life. As it is, DeSantis appears to be using Florida taxpayer money to run a dodgy scheme that doesn’t even benefit his own state.
A Texas sheriff has called for criminal charges in the case involving the Venezuelan migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard, on the basis that the DeSantis operation lured them onto the flight under false pretenses. That case may not get very far, given that like-minded Republicans control much of the Texas government. California, controlled by Democrats, says it is looking into criminal charges relating to the Sacramento migrant drop-offs, as well. Even if there's no crime, it’s a sin against capitalism to mock those who want to participate and further the cause.