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Venezuela - Slouching Toward Communism

Venezuela has become today's text-book example of what happens to a nation when it is forced to succumb to large-scale economic nationalization.

President Hugo Chavez is tightening state control over Venezuela's food supply, setting quotas for food staples which are to be sold at government-imposed prices.

Venezuela's public finances are unravelling, with oil prices at $40 a barrel, while the national budget is calculated at $60 a barrel. Inflation is running at over 30 per cent, yet with the new measures Mr Chavez is seeking to ensure that his core support, the poor, can still fill their shopping baskets with food.

"If any industry wants to ride roughshod over the consumers, with a view to getting better dividends, we are going to act," said Carlos Osorio, the national superintendent of silos and storage. "For the government, access to food is a matter of national security."

Production quotas and prices have now been set for cooking oil, white rice, sugar, coffee, flour, margarine, pasta, cheeses and tomato sauce.

Of course a passionate Communist like Hugo Chavez can never admit that placing his nation's economy under a centrally-planned stranglehold is the true cause of the current double-whammy of dwindling wealth and double-digit inflation. It's always the "profiteers," never the planners.

Chavez bet the farm that oil futures would continue to trade at over $100 a barrel. He used Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA as his own personal piggy bank, replacing its directors and engineers with cronies who knew little about the oil industry, redistributing its capital in massive giveaway programs, and turning its corporate office into a free public university.

But now that oil prices have tanked, Chavez is in big trouble. As Margaret Thatcher famously noted, "The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

Over the past few years, Chavez has tightened his death grip over Venezuela one piece at a time by targeting newspapers and television networks critical of his policies, creating new and powerful secret police and domestic spying agencies, and pushing his people into a constitutional referendum that ended term limits.

Those who believe that bigger, more powerful government is the solution to poverty and economic troubles would do well to pay attention to Venezuela as it slowly swirls down the drain into a full-blown Communist dictatorship.

ADDED: Chavez has also steered Venezuela straight down The Road To Serfdom. Anyone care to guess how far Venezuela has already gone?


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Comments (7)

A very large percentage of ... (Below threshold)

A very large percentage of Obama voters are quite ignorant and will not be paying attention to events such as these.

So when are we going to sta... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

So when are we going to start dropping bombs on the oppressed people of Venezuela in order to liberate them?

I don't know, Adrian. Why ... (Below threshold)

I don't know, Adrian. Why don't you ask Hillary Clinton and President Obama?

They're already 'liberated'... (Below threshold)

They're already 'liberated' Adrian. They're liberated from money, they're liberated from hope, they're liberated from progress, they're liberated from freedom and soon they're going to be liberated from food.

Really, you can't see where it's headed for Venezuela?

It does my heart good to se... (Below threshold)

It does my heart good to see a link to the Mises Institute here. There's the hope I am looking for.

So when are we going to start dropping bombs on the oppressed people of Venezuela in order to liberate them?

That's a great question, Adrian. Seriously. With over 700 military bases in 130 countries, our republic is more resembling an empire, isn't it? But, neither party has a corner on the war market, do they? Sure, the democrats talk big on reducing the military, but how many democrat versus republican presidents have been 'war' presidents? My prediction is that at the end of his first term Obama will still have troops in Iraq, he'll have escalated the troops in Afghanistan (oops..too late!), there will be a draft, and he'll find some new conquest. All for the concept of spreading democracy, which is really only a step away from socialism, which is only a step away from communism. A republican is a democrat is a republican. Blah, blah, blah.

When Obama is finished, this country will wish it were Venezuala.

I predict Obama and Hillary... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

I predict Obama and Hillary will start dropping 500 lb depleted uranium-tipped bombs on the peasants of Mexico (in order to liberate them of course) (and preferably during wedding parties and quinceaneras) before we liberate the Venezuelans. They'll be ever so grateful.

They'll be ever so grate... (Below threshold)

They'll be ever so grateful.

Now you're just being silly.






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