Yes, Hugo Chavez, and now Maduro, made huge blunders in “managing” the economy of Venezuela, if what they did could even be called managing. It’s more like a slow-motion sequence of disasters that is now escalating. Yes, they screwed up, yes corruption is rampant. But perhaps our media could be a teensy less gleeful about the collapse of socialism there and a bit more concerned about millions of Venezuelans facing seriously bad times. Stores are mostly empty. The economy has crumbled.
This WaPo article expertly dissects the errors of the Chavezistas, concluding that all is lost and things will probably get much worse. Their dissection is accurate enough yet the plight of workers there seems almost an afterthought, behind bashing socialism.
Non-socialist countries have collapsed too, and we didn’t do the happy dance. The real problem though probably is it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know what’s going to happen and no one has a clue how to stop it.
Now, there are two things you need to remember about Venezuela. The first is that if it can get worse, it will get worse. And the second is that it can always get worse. In this case, that means that it might not be long until we look back at all of this as the good old days. How in the name of five-hour long grocery lines is that possible? Well, Venezuela’s government might be reaching the point where it can’t coerce people economically, but only physically. After all, it barely has enough money to even be able to print money anymore. So it can’t buy people off anymore. It has to bully them instead. Indeed, the army has started forcing butchers to sell food at a 90 percent loss, and the government has said it can force anyone to, um, take a break from their job and work for at least two months growing food instead. Amnesty International has said this is tantamount to “forced labor,” which is just a polite way of describing what’s very close to modern-day slavery.