This spring, they are having food riots in Venezuela. People are so desperate for food that they are eating their pet dogs and cats.
Finding toilet paper is nearly impossible. There are serious shortages of rice, milk, deodorant and other necessary items. Secret police are checking home and businesses to see if anyone is hoarding goods.
Nationwide student protests started in February. They want better security, an end to shortages and freedom of speech. The government has gone to a two-day work week to save money.
The shortage of goods is reminiscent of Russia and Eastern Europe during the Cold War. President Nicolas Maduro is watching as his country falls apart.
Top government officials are saying the United States is plotting to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Some U.S. diplomats have been kicked out of the country. The capital, Caracas, has become one of the most murderous cities in the world. Drug traffickers are unchecked.
Even children are being robbed.
Venezuela has been ruled with an iron fist for 14 years by Hugo Chavez, who died last year. Maduro was his vice president and hand-picked successor.
Venezuela, a member of OPEC with a population of about 30 million, is one of the world’s top exporter of crude oil. It’s said they have more reserves than Saudi Arabia.
Venezuela is discounting its oil to U.S. refineries, selling it for as much as $12 below the benchmark West Texas Intermediate. The average discount for Venezuelan oil this year is between $8-9. Venezuela is the third-largest oil supplier to the United States, behind Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Petroleous de Venezuela is the nationalized oil company. It’s output keeps dropping.
The worsening economic conditions will make things worse before it gets better.
The country is under a state of emergency and the army is in charge of easing the food shortages and stopping the rioting.
Businesses are operating at less than 50 percent capacity because they can’t get supplies.
This is affecting other countries. China has loaned Venezuela around $50 billion over the last decade and the unrest helped cause the Chinese stock market to take a dip.
Inflation in Venezuela is at 180 percent. The economy shrunk almost 6 percent last year. This is the same country that got more than a trillion dollars in oil revenues in the last 17 years during the oil boom.
Why did this happen?
That’s right. Venezuela should be one of the richest countries in the world. It’s people should be as well off as any of the oil rich states in the Middle East.
The march to socialism began with Chavez, who considered himself a “champion of the poor” who vowed to redistribute the wealth of the rich to the common people.
Does this sound familiar?
Instead of making life better for the poor, Chavez and his fellow socialists ruined the nation’s businesses. They drove out American investment in energy because it just isn’t safe to be there now.
Seventy percent of the people live below the poverty level. Shoppers stand in line for hours for food. A crime wave is growing. Babies and the elderly are dying for lack of food and medical supplies.
There is no doubt that the drop in oil prices has a big impact on Venezuela.
Here’s what happens in a socialist nation. A small, privileged class rules with an iron fist. They don’t understand capitalism and they tend to destroy the democratic institutions that make most countries work. When things go south, they institute price controls and they tighten up the currency. Mismanagement forces them to print more money, which spurs inflation. They steal goods for the elite class and protect themselves with a corrupt military or police force.
The Venezuela state-owned oil company spent $45 million a year to keep a racecard driver going with advertising. He had to leave the circuit when the funds finally dried up.
And the biggest casualty in socialism is freedom.
And foolish Democrats in the country keep voting for Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist. That used to be a dirty word in America but not anymore.
Sanders wants to force businesses to pay $15 an hour as the minimum wage. He wants the government to pay for all college tuition. Sanders wants universal health care for all citizens and illegal immigrants.
Sanders barks about “class warfare” and screams that the “greed has got to end.”
There have been socialists in the United States for a long time but this is the first time one who is so blatantly in favor of wealth redistribution has a shot to be the candidate of a major party.
Our young people are so indoctrinated by public education that they are flocking to Sanders. The message is that the government will pay for all your needs by stealing from “rich people” who don’t deserve what they own.
At least Sanders is honest about his wish to turn America into a socialist state. That is the goal of President Obara but he is too deceitful to admit it.
Socialism has never worked and will never work because it kills the incentive to work, it transfers power from the people to the government and it abandons faith in God.
We are seeing a clear picture of that in Venezuela.