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November 13, 2013

Socialism and Communism Always End This Way As Covert Looting Becomes Overt In Venezuela

Topics: Political News and commentaries, Venezuela
"We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." -- Barack Obama, October 30, 2008

"We are going to have to change our conversation; we're going to have to change our traditions, our history; we're going to have to move into a different place as a nation." --Michelle Obama, May 14, 2008

For those who've been keeping up with what's been happening in Venezuela, seeing how much Barack Obama' has already succeeded in changing the United States in the course of his quest to "fundamentally transform America" is more than disconcerting. It leaves one with the creepy feeling that Venezuela could be America's canary in the coal mine.

Megan McArdle writes at Bloomberg (via Glenn Reynolds):

Two disturbing stories came out of Venezuela this weekend. The first involves the Miami Herald's Andean bureau chief, who was detained for 48 hours after he asked for an interview with military officials in the city of San Cristobal. The Venezuelan government says that he didn't have permission to report in the country. Repressive governments often use this kind of flimsy pretext when they don't like the questions you're asking -- but outside of violent dictatorships, I believe the customary practice is to take you to the airport and watch you get on a plane back home, not to arrest you.

The second is even more extraordinary -- so much so that I'm not even going to summarize it.

Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country's equivalent of Best Buy, a chain of electronics stores known as Daka, hoping for a bargain after the socialist government forced the company to charge customers "fair" prices.

President Nicolas Maduro ordered a military "occupation" of the company's five stores as he continues the government's crackdown on an "economic war" it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.

Members of Venezuela's National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside ...

Daka's store managers, according to Maduro, have been arrested and are being held by the country's security services. Neither Daka nor the government responded to requests for comment.

These stories are more connected than they might at first appear. The detained reporter was looking into upcoming municipal elections and the chronic shortages of basic goods that have plagued Venezuela. And the "military occupation" of an electronics retailer comes ahead of those elections, in which Maduro's party is not expected to do well.

The roots of both of these issues go back to Chavismo, the left-wing ideology of former president Hugo Chavez, who used Venezuela's oil revenues to support huge social spending. Unfortunately, Venezuela's heavy, sulfurous crude requires a lot of continual investment to keep it coming out of the ground, and much of that investment has been diverted. Since Chavez took office, Venezuela has been pumping less and less of the stuff:

Take the time to read the whole thing.

Related: Venezuela Becomes A Nation Of Looters

Posted by Hyscience at November 13, 2013 11:53 AM

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