Socialism is a great social experiment…that ends in misery

Venezuela is collapsing as their grand socialist experiment crashes and burns.

The fight for food has begun in Venezuela. On any day, in cities across this increasingly desperate nation, crowds form to sack supermarkets. Protesters take to the streets to decry the skyrocketing prices and dwindling supplies of basic goods. The wealthy improvise, some shopping online for food that arrives from Miami. Middle-class families make do with less: coffee without milk, sardines instead of beef, two daily meals instead of three. The poor are stripping mangoes off the trees and struggling to survive.

?This is savagery,? said Pedro Zaraza, a car-oil salesman who watched a mob mass on Friday outside a supermarket, where it was eventually dispersed by the army. ?The authorities are losing their grip.?

What has been a slow-motion crisis in Venezuela seems to be careening into a new, more dangerous phase. The long economic decline of the country with the world?s largest oil reserves now shows signs of morphing into a humanitarian emergency, with government mismanagement and low petroleum prices leading to widespread shortages and inflation that could surpass 700?percent this year.

When there is a power vacuum people generally die hard.

The political stakes are mounting. Exhausted by government-imposed power blackouts, spiraling crime, endless food lines, shortages of medicine and waves of looting and protest, citizens are mobilizing against their leaders. In recent days, Venezuelans lined up to add their names to a recall petition that aims to bring down the country?s president, Nicol?s Maduro, and put an end to the socialist-inspired ?revolution? ignited 17 years ago by Hugo Ch?vez.

Ch?vez is dead and so can’t see the disaster he has wrought. Maduro is likely to follow in short order unless he bolts…if he doesn’t then he will probably end up like Mussolini.

Venezuela?s ability to produce food and other goods has dwindled over the years as the government hasexpropriated private companies, expanded price controls and otherwise discouraged private production. Corn, rice and other foods once grown domestically now have to be imported.

In the past two years, oil prices have dropped by half to below $50 per barrel, the economy has contracted severely and imports have grown more unaffordable. Private companies have shut down for lack of access to government-controlled dollars to pay for raw materials. The government has so far prioritized making debt payments to avoid default while cutting back on imported products, including food. In recent days, airlines such as Lufthansa, LATAM and Aeromexico have stopped flying to Venezuela as the strict currency controls make it difficult for them to be paid in full.

Yeah socialism is so appealing.

About 87?percent of people say they don?t have enough money to buy food, according to a recent study by Simon Bolivar University.

?We have not yet seen the climax of the crisis,? said Luis Vicente Leon, director of the polling firm Datanalisis. He estimated that retail food outlets in Caracas lack about 80 to 85?percent of their usual products. ?Supplies have deteriorated to a very significant degree, and it?s probable that things will continue to get worse.?

This year, Maduro decreed that food distribution would be placed under the control of thousands of local citizen committees that critics say are biased toward government supporters. That meant subsidized food would be diverted from the poorly stocked government-run supermarkets.

Another decree that worked so well…for no one.

We don’t need to imagine what socialism can deliver. We can look at Venezuela and work out that it isn’t much.


– Washington Post