A Turning Point USA chapter at Central Michigan University invited three Venezuelan speakers who fled their native country for a “Survivors of Socialism” event.

Samuel Machado, Carlos Ron and José Villamediana spoke about what it was like living in a socialist country. The event took place on April 18th.

Machado was at his home in Venezuela when a gun was held to his head after his mother decided to speak out on human rights violations happening in the country.  This caused Machado to flee Venezuela for the freedoms of America.

According to the organizer of the event and Turning Point USA President Salicia Bayes, the main goal of the night was not to force the opposing side to believe differently, but to show the reality of socialism.

The trio spoke about the hardships they endured under Venezuelan socialism.  They touched on inflation and witnessing people starve to the point that they were eating out of trash cans.  Some people were dying in hospitals due to the lack of supplies, they said.

According to Machado, the government implements its policies by force. They control everything from what someone can do with his or her money to what someone’s business should be used for, he explained.

The group spoke about how the government would censor their speech and would make citizens afraid to speak out against their country.

Someone from the audience asked if free healthcare could work in the United States. Villamediana responded that healthcare is “not free because someone is ultimately paying for it.”

“You cannot say or think or do something that the government doesn’t approve.”

“We all want to live in an equal society, but what’s the cost for it? It costs everything. It costs your own personal freedom,”  Villamediana concluded.

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