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Venezuela Is on the Verge of a Massive Humanitarian and Economic Collapse. the Culprit? Socialism.

August 13, 2018 in Economics

By Juan Carlos Hidalgo

Juan Carlos Hidalgo

The recent and bizarre alleged assassination attempt on
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, complete with exploding armed
drones, remains mostly a mystery. Regardless of who perpetrated it
or why, however, the controversy is already allegedly being used by the regime
to persecute political enemies and distract from the serious
economic crisis besieging that country.

Despite constant condemnation from outside observers, the
situation in Venezuela continues to worsen. A top U.N. official
recently warned that the country is on the
verge of turning into “an absolute disaster in unprecedented
proportions for the Western Hemisphere.”

What was once Latin America’s richest nation, is now
sending hordes of refugees into neighboring countries. Since 2016,
nearly two million people have fled the country. Those unfortunate
enough to stay are facing life-threatening shortages of food and
medicine, one of the highest murder rates in the world
and an annual inflation rate that now sits above 40,000 percent.

The seeds of this crisis
were planted in 1999, but the chaos has flourished under President
Nicolas Maduro and his incompetent, corrupt ideologues.

A national survey in 2017 found that 87 percent of families live
below the poverty line. Nearly two-thirds of Venezuelans reported
losing an average of 25 pounds in the previous year —
some have called it the “Maduro
diet.”
The Pharmaceutical Federation estimates that
80 percent of drugs are not available in
drugstores. There are outbreaks of diseases that had been
eradicated or were under control, such as diphtheria, measles and
malaria.

Maduro has reacted to the collapse of the economy by
consolidating the dictatorship, intensifying human rights abuses (including
torture)
and further cracking down on the private sector. He
claims that his regime is the victim of an “economic war”
waged by the opposition and the United States. The reality is that
this man-made tragedy has a well-known culprit: socialism.

The seeds of this crisis were planted in 1999, when the late
President Hugo Chavez came to power. He soon went about rebranding
his nationalist Bolivarian revolution, proclaiming it 21st-century socialism. Chavez
dramatically increased the size of the government payroll and the
reach of social programs. In fairness, patronage had been a common
practice in Venezuela for decades. However, buoyed by more than
$1 trillion in oil revenues during his time in
office
, Chavez took that practice to unprecedented levels.
These social policies earned him popularity at home and plaudits
from abroad — including
from Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz
— even though they
were financially unsustainable. Today, an estimated 60 percent …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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