Venezuela’s socialist paradise is turning into a nightmare

Venezuela is held up by many on the left as a socialist paradise, funded by oil profits and dogged by big spending socialist governments the place is rooted.

They can’t afford condoms, a?36-pack of Trojan condoms are going for 4,760 bolivars (about $US750) and now with oil prices plunging?people are dying in the socialist paradise for want of simple medical supplies.

Venezuela is suffering under the boot of socialism.

For Jose Perez, a Venezuelan taxi driver from Caracas, the hardest part about watching his wife die from heart failure was knowing just how easily she could have been saved.

The surgeons at the Caracas University Hospital were ready to operate on 51-year-old Carmen, but because of the shortages of medicines now ravaging Venezuela, they had no stocks of the prosthetic artery that would have saved her life.

For a day, the family enjoyed a glimmer of hope after a nationwide search uncovered one such device, but Carmen needed two and a second one was nowhere to be found. She died two days later.

It is life-and-death stories like these that illustrate the depth of the economic crisis now confronting Venezuela, a crumbling socialist-run petro-state that looks in danger of being tipped over the edge by the crunch in world oil prices.

For Venezuelans like Mr Perez and tens of thousands more awaiting medical treatment around the country, the magic realism of Hugo Chavez?s great Bolivarian socialist revolution has turned to bitter reality less than two years after the former leader?s death from cancer.

?It?s the government who is responsible for my wife?s death, not the doctors,? Mr Perez, 63, told The Telegraph last week. ?Things are very bad in this country, and they are getting worse. I feel that we are in a dictatorship. At the start I believed in Chavez, now I can?t look at him. He is in the best place now.?

It is a fact that socialism kills.

Mr Chavez might be dead, but as one of Latin America?s most charismatic political performers, he is far from forgotten.

His placid features still stare out from billboards in Caracas, while Venezuelan television still plays his rambling speeches denouncing America, capitalism and the West.

He promised the people the riches of the revolution, and for a while he was able to deliver, thanks to his country being blessed with the world?s largest proven oil reserves.

But now, as the people queue at the pharmacy and the supermarket for basic necessities like baby formula, flour, milk and toilet paper, the promises sound like empty boasts.

Even the middle classes, previously insulated from many of the country?s gathering economic woes, are feeling the pinch as poorer people come from the slums and suburbs in search of restricted goods, forming queues in previously upmarket areas.

In a shopping centre in the Sabana Grande district last week, women queued outside a pharmacy for nearly two hours to buy two four-roll packs of toilet paper. In what has become the ultimate indignity for the Venezuelan public ? and a huge embarrassment for the regime ? shortages of toilet paper mean it is now strictly rationed.

Could a revolution be brewing?

In public, the shoppers are stoical, wary of speaking ill of a regime that has a track record of taking revenge on its critics, excluding them from the handouts and government jobs that became the hallmark of Chavez?s rule.

But in private, the anger is intense. ?In Venezuela, the country with the world?s largest oil reserves, you have to queue for the right to wipe your backside,? said a queuing taxi driver, who declined to give his name.

For Nicolas Maduro, the president, a former bus driver who Chavez designated as his successor and who won a disputed election in 2013, the response to the crisis has been a mixture of denial, wishful thinking and angry denunciations of international capitalism waging an ?economic war? on Venezuela.

But with Mr Maduro?s approval ratings now at just 20 per cent, it seems a growing number of Venezuelans no longer believe his claims that outsiders are always to blame.

Having promised a 15 per cent wage and pensions increase during last month?s annual state of the nation address, Mr Maduro last week announced emergency measures to relax currency restrictions on importers of key goods, including everything from toilet paper to tuna fish.

Inflation is rampant, people can’t even wipe their bums or enjoy a root…and promised stupid wage increases have disappeared…eventually the people will wake up and Manduro is going to cut and run.

Eventually socialists run out of other people’s money to spend.


– The Telegraph