Two Venezuelan MPs are touring SA with a warning: industrial nationalisation and land redistribution from private hands to a state that preaches a populist line but is infected with corruption will impoverish this country as it has theirs. Both MPs, who spoke at the University of Pretoria earlier this month, represent the Justice First party in the disempowered parliament. Miguel Pizarro is a former student leader of the slum constituency of Petare in the capital Caracas, while José Manuel Olivares Marquina is a health-rights activist living in exile in Colombia because of threats to his family by the regime of President Nicolás Maduro, who has ruled almost entirely by fiat since 2013. Though the histories of SA and Venezuela differ, there are echoes of the SA experience in the personal trajectories of the two MPs. Olivares comes from one of the poorest states in Venezuela, where his black grandfather was a security guard at a local hospital. Until his exile, he worked as a doctor a...

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