News & Politics

Anti-Socialists Make the Time 100: Trump, Venezuela's Guaidó, and Brazil's Bolsonaro

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Wednesday, TIME magazine named the 100 most influential people, and three prominent opponents of radical socialist policies made the list. President Donald Trump has famously declared that the United States “will never become a socialist country.” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reversed socialism in his country, and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is challenging the authoritarian Nicolás Maduro.

Each of these leaders has a positive profile in the TIME 100. Former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) praises Donald Trump for his foreign policy. Ian Bremmer hails Bolsonaro as a force against corruption, even while warning about what Bremmer sees as his “ultraconservative” dangers. Former Colombian President Juan Miguel Santos praises the courage of Juan Guaidó.

None of these profiles mentions the anti-socialism activism of these powerful leaders, but each of them has made important strides for freedom in their countries.

Trump has cut taxes, benefitting a broad swath of the American people and boosting the economy. He has also worked to free Americans from some of the excessive regulations of the bureaucratic state.

Bolsonaro has cut down on the big government corruption endemic to Brazil under his socialist predecessors. When he was inaugurated on January 1, he declared that Brazil’s period of socialism had come to a close. He also supported Guaidó as the rightful leader of Venezuela. Last month, Trump and Bolsonaro met at the White House, pledging to fight socialism together.

“After three months as Brazil’s President, he represents a sharp break with a decade of high-level corruption, and Brazil’s best chance in a generation to enact economic reforms that can tame rising debt,” Bremmer writes. “The former army officer is also a poster boy for toxic masculinity, an ultraconservative homophobe intent on waging a culture war and perhaps reversing Brazil’s progress on tackling climate change.”

As for Guaidó, he represents the “light socialism” that preceded Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez. Chavez’s radical socialism destroyed the country’s economy, and Maduro (Chavez’s hand-picked successor) continued the decline. Guaidó falls far short of the kind of free-market reforms Venezuela needs to reverse this tragedy, but he is the possible alternative to Maduro, so both Trump and Bolsonaro have supported him.

Trump, Bolsonaro, and Guaidó have a long way to go in their fight against radical socialism, but each is making strides in the right direction. They well deserve their places on the TIME 100 list.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.