At Sinn Féin's ard fheis in 2014, motion 116 "commended" Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro "for continuing to successfully implement and improve the Bolivarian Revolution in what has been an extremely difficult time since the death of Hugo Chávez".
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Since then the Venezuelan economic collapse has been so severe that five million people have fled the country, an exodus of a similar scale to the numbers who have escaped from war-ravaged Syria.
Hard-left economic experiments do not have a good record of making people's lives better. When they implode, as they tend to do eventually, the poorest suffer most.
Sinn Féin's manifesto combines large-scale spending commitments and a narrowing of the tax base. If implemented, it would do at least some damage to the Irish economy. If a shock, such as a no-deal Brexit, were to take place while it was being implemented, the economy could crash.
If voters want to take this chance, then so be it. Just as the country came through the property crash, it would come through a Sinn Féin-induced crash. Sometimes countries, like people, have to experience alternatives before making longer-term choices that they are content with.
The case against Sinn Féin in government is less about economics and much more about democracy, not least because economies tend to bounce back while democratic degradation is usually longer lasting and can be permanent.
Around the world the democratic tide has receded in recent years. More parties and leaders are coming to power who have little time for liberal democratic values. As a result, more abuses of power are taking place. Freedoms are being curbed. Checks and balances on governments are being eroded.
There is quite rightly a lot of attention being given to the rise of parties which do not prize democracy and the rule of law. There is no party in western Europe whose deep culture is less aligned to the values of democracy and the rule of law than Sinn Féin.
The continued existence of the IRA attests to this. It has not been disbanded.
There is no indication, more than a quarter of a century after the peace process began, that it has any intention of going away.
Private armies are an affront to democracy. Since the Basque paramilitary group ETA dissolved itself, Sinn Féin is the only political party among Ireland's peer countries to have a private army behind it.
Central to understanding Sinn Féin's culture are the values that took root in the provisional movement from the late 1960s to the late 1990s, and this is as much a matter for the future as it is of the past.
The IRA and Sinn Féin - two sides of the same coin - waged and supported a sustained killing campaign. Their members were constantly at risk of being killed themselves. They lived in a state of war.
During wars, the values of militarism come to the fore among combatants, and those values are exactly at odds with the ones that are needed for democracies to function well. Military organisations are hierarchical. Orders come from above. They are obeyed without question. Secrecy is paramount. Information is tightly controlled. Those who step out of line are punished summarily.
Over decades the culture of militarism became deeply engrained in the provisional movement. Its continued existence was evident in recent days in relation to the IRA's brutal murder of Paul Quinn in 2007 (long after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and in effect). Nobody has been convicted for the killing. The perpetrators are still being protected.
Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy blackened the victim's name and his party has never found this reason to sanction him.
Another example of Sinn Féin's toxic culture is the many who have left the party claiming that they had been bullied, intimated and given no real voice. Top-down, command-and-control culture always closes down debate, questioning and criticism.
Yet another illustration of how different Sinn Féin is, is its leadership and how it is chosen. Democratic political parties tend towards internal chaos. Rivalries abound when a lot of ambitious people with different views on policies and presentation come together. Well developed egos clash. Nowhere is all this more in evidence than when party leadership positions become vacant.
It was far from evident when Gerry Adams stood down as Sinn Féin leader two years ago. A normal democratic party would have had multiple candidates throwing their hats in the ring, particularly as it had been 35 years since the last change of leadership. Only one candidate emerged. Again, there are no parallels in democratic Europe of a party being led - unchallenged - for a third of a century and a new leader being elected without a contest.
A final point. It is often asked why, if Sinn Féin is fit for executive office in the North, then why not in the Republic?
Northern Ireland after partition was not a democratic polity as that term is usually understood. The minority nationalist community was systematically discriminated against and sidelined. Crude majoritarianism masqueraded as democracy.
Then, in the 1960s when the worldwide civil rights tide washed over the North, 50 years of smouldering inequity erupted into conflict. The Northern state responded to legitimate protest with brutality. The provisional movement then waged a war against that state for three decades.
Northern Ireland for most of its history has been more akin to a failing state in Central America than a European democracy. Making such a place more like the region of which it is geographically a part was never going to happen overnight. There is no magic democratic wand that changes people and political movements.
Risks have to be taken in democratisation processes. They often involve bringing those who have used violence into the fold in the hope that they will become fully democratic. That has to happen even though there is always a risk that they will corrupt democratic structures and the entire process will fail. It is better to try and fail than never to try at all.
This Republic is incomparable with Northern Ireland. It is one of the longest continuously functioning democracies in the world. The rule of law has always been upheld since the State's founding. There are few countries in which democratic checks and balances have worked better.
As a thoroughly democratic entity of long-standing, this Republic cannot be compared with Northern Ireland. Giving a party such as Sinn Féin a role in its government would not improve the democratic fabric of this State. On the contrary, it would put it at risk of degradation. Anyone minded to vote for Sinn Féin on Saturday should be conscious of that.
Politicians from other parties who are considering coalition with it should too.