2014 February 18 Tuesday
Going Down In Venezuela

Socialism with price controls, state control of the media, and currency abasement still does not work. Venezuela's government has just arrested the biggest opposition leader. The currency is in a tail spin.

The bolivar fuerte (or “strong bolivar,” as Chávez had the currency renamed) weakened precipitously against the U.S. dollar, and dropped, on the black market, from roughly 8 to 1 (at Chávez’s death) to now 87 to 1. Maduro’s response? State intervention that has worsened matters, making it harder and harder for the private sector, on which Venezuelans rely for food, to operate.

But if you can smuggle in dollars then life there is very cheap.

Price controls are causing shortages and of course gutting the economy.

A cable news network in Venezuela, NTN24, has been taken off the air by the government because it covered anti-government protests.

Caracas is not the place to be. Read this whole story to get a sense of how much you would not want to live there.

In the serene private clubs of Caracas, there is no milk, and the hiss of the cappuccino machine has fallen silent. In the slums, the lights go out every few days, or the water stops running.

Venezuela's oil production has declined and it has big debts to China.

Okay Latin American commenters who think Venezuela shows the way to oppose Yankee imperialism, come out and defend Venezuela.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 February 18 09:20 PM 

Daniel said at February 18, 2014 9:39 PM:

It hasn't passed my notice that Maduro/Chavez supporters are generally several shades darker than supporters of the opposition. Mustn't talk about that though, only the white man is racist.

Toddy Cat said at February 19, 2014 7:04 AM:

Socialism still doesn't work, and the stupider the people running it, the less it works (compare East Germany, which sorta worked for a while, thanks to the Berlin Wall, which kept the smarter people in, to Ethiopia, where people started starving almost immediately). This is not necessarily to defend unrestrained capitalism, because, as we currently see, this has its problems and discontents as well, and needs to be restrained and leavened with a functioning moral conservative culture. But Socialism is a failure. Full stop. Venezuela is just yet another example, as if one were needed.

Wolf-Dog said at February 19, 2014 2:05 PM:

Tey have enormous oil reserves, but they still have so much trouble. This is incredible:

ootsider said at February 19, 2014 7:42 PM:

No doubt Obama dreams of visiting there before the end of his term, and making a speech about how they are the future. And he would be right.

Black Death said at February 20, 2014 6:06 AM:

"Brazil is the new Argentina, Argentina is the new Venezuela, and Venezuela is the new Zimbabwe."

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