stj, the hunger and malnutrition is worse now than it was when he took power. He foreclosed on the productive farms, then closed down mom and pop food stores because *gasp* they insisted on selling slightly above their own costs so they wouldn't go broke and starve.
Venezuela has some of the most productive farm regions on Earth. It's a growers paradise that exceeds anything in California's central valley. Under Chavez, like most socialist regimes, the people ended up standing in lines and food stores that didn't have any food.
Here's an example
from two months ago.
Miriam Villae never knows what she'll find on the shelves of her grocery store in the Venezuela capital these days. Chances are it's not much.
As the oil-rich country grapples with the highest food shortage in four years, the 62-year-old grandmother and many others like her are being forced to make do without staples like flour and butter.
"Today I found corn meal and oil but there's no sugar," Villae told AFP as she slipped two packages of maize into her cart at a Caracas supermarket -- much to the delight of her young grandson.
"Wheat flour has long been missing," she added, noting that, day after day, she comes to "hunt" for chicken.
"Is there butter, is there butter?" asked another woman excitedly as both she and Villae gingerly tried to dodge the long lines of shoppers that formed as word spread about the delivery of oil, rice and the all important corn meal, used to make arepas and empanadas.
And of course the government blamed the usual suspects.
The government, which earlier this year launched a plan to prevent shortages and introduced price controls in 2003, blames the bare shelves on an increase in consumption -- along with hoarding by producers and speculators.
If they can't find food, and consumption has increased
, what the heck were they eating before?! And of course hoarding by producers and speculators would explain why he allied with Iran, since starvation is always the Jews fault, even in countries that don't have any Jews. (Chavez often railed about the evil Jews.)
And if you suspect that Business Insider
is run by Jews, try a similar article at the Huffington Post
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelans have been coping with sporadic shortages of foods ranging from cooking oil to sugar, and lately a dearth of flour is preventing some bakeries from making bread.
Marco Freitas, a manager of a Caracas bakery, is selling mainly cold cuts and dry pasta now that his bread shelves are nearly empty. Freitas said he hasn't been able to get enough flour lately.
Or how about a New York Times article
CARACAS, Venezuela — By 6:30 a.m., a full hour and a half before the store would open, about two dozen people were already in line. They waited patiently, not for the latest iPhone, but for something far more basic: groceries.
Venezuela is one of the world’s top oil producers at a time of soaring engery prices, yet shortages of staples like milk, meat and toilet paper are a chronic part of life here, often turning grocery shopping into a hit or miss proposition.
Some residents arrange their calendars around the once-a-week deliveries made to government-subsidized stores like this one, lining up before dawn to buy a single frozen chicken before the stock runs out. Or a couple of bags of flour. Or a bottle of cooking oil.
The shortages affect both the poor and the well-off, in surprising ways. A supermarket in the upscale La Castellana neighborhood recently had plenty of chicken and cheese — even quail eggs — but not a single roll of toilet paper. Only a few bags of coffee remained on a bottom shelf.
Asked where a shopper could get milk on a day when that, too, was out of stock, a manager said with sarcasm, “At Chávez’s house.”
Keep in mind that Venezuela used to be the regions bread basket and a major food exporter
. Now it has to import
coffee. Imagine that. It's like Kansas having to import wheat. The New York Times article goes on to have economists discuss the problems there.
Venezuela was long one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with sophisticated manufacturing, vibrant agriculture and strong businesses, making it hard for many residents to accept such widespread scarcities.
But many economists call it a classic case of a government causing a problem rather than solving it. Prices are set so low, they say, that companies and producers cannot make a profit. So farmers grow less food, manufacturers cut back production and retailers stock less inventory. Moreover, some of the shortages are in industries, like dairy and coffee, where the government has seized private companies and is now running them, saying it is in the national interest.
It always works out like that, whether in Soviet Russia, Eastern Europe, or Maoist China. They always blame everything from the potato harvest to capitalist speculators, and people stand in line at bakeries that don't have any
bread. Like those countries, Venezuelans can't even find any toilet paper and probably have to use Chavez party fliers, as was commonly done in Eastern Europe. Only under socialism could a banana republic actually run out of bananas.