Courtesy of Turning Point USA UM-Flint Chapter
Two Venezuelan immigrants spoke out against socialism at UM-Flint during an event hosted by Turning Point USA.
UM-Flint’s TPUSA chapter invited Jose Medina and Carlos Ron to speak at their “Survivors of Socialism” event on Thursday, Feb. 20. The pair spoke about their personal experiences under the socialist Venezuelan government and its many downfalls. The conversation was led by TPUSA President and UM-Flint Student Gabrielle Stephens.
Stephens feels there is no place for socialism in the United States. She wanted to bring in people with firsthand knowledge of the danger the economic system might bring to the country.
“We wanted people that had an experience with this come and talk to our students to gain a better understanding of what socialism is and why we shouldn’t support it in this country and how it can limit our freedom and our ability to express ourselves,” said Stephens.
TPUSA, a grass-roots conservative organization, often sends and hosts speakers like Medina and Ron to college campuses across the country.
Stephens facilitated the discussion, asking Medina and Ron general questions about their experiences in Venezuela.
They shared how they left their home country of Venezuela after their families were harassed and threatened for speaking out against the government. The two men spoke about their shared experiences living under an authoritarian government.
After his mother’s workplace was forced to nationalize, Medina started noticing the impact.
“They started to force the workers to go to the rallies for the government,” said Medina. “They also started to track people to make sure where they were going and where they were meeting. It got to a point where they were harassing her. We were forced to leave.”
Ron had a very similar experience with his mother being the target of harassment.
“She worked as a teacher. She had been teaching for about twenty-something years. She had to stop because of everything she had to teach [then]. They were telling her what to teach, what not to say. She complained all the time on why she had to teach things she totally disagreed [with]. We became a public target. We felt that our lives were in danger. We couldn’t take it anymore,” said Ron.
After the speakers gave their testimonies, they took questions from the audience.
“[Socialism] is really easy to sell,” said Medina, after being asked why socialism is so popular. “The wealthy will give you the free stuff you deserve. What they don’t realize is that there is nothing moral about stealing. It’s not how a country should progress.”
After someone asked what is the worst part of socialism, Ron answered, “There is nothing good about socialism. Everything’s bad.”
When asked about their journey to the United States, both men disclosed that they came through the asylum process.
“It was pretty rough when you have people trying to talk to you all the time and you don’t understand anything,” said Medina. “[But] there is nothing better than being here. Here, if you work hard, you can achieve your goals.”