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realclearworld

Caracastan wastes billions on Castro-style agricultural experiments

20140502-AMX-VENEZUELA41-001

No surprise here.

Hugo Chavez loved to emulate his hero and foster father Fidel Castro, who was a seemingly inexhaustible source of outlandish and unrealistic agricultural plans: first came the tractor-for-every-farmer campaign, then the so-called agrarian reform, the collectives,  the apocalyptic sugar cane harvests, the urban orchards, the mini-cows, the super-cows, the moringa, and so on.

Fidel's experiments always failed and ended up driving more nails into the coffin of Castrogonia's economy.  The "miracle" cure for the socialist economy was always on the horizon, but always beyond reach.

Hugo Chavez could outdo Fidel when it came to grand projects thanks to all of his petrodollars.  But Hugo was as doomed to fail as any communist central planner.

Naturally, Fidel, Chavez, Maduro, Correa, Morales, and their ilk always blame the capitalists and imperialists for their failures, and these failures are then employed to whip up nationalistic fervor against the "enemies" of the revolution.

The fact remains, however, that the failures are an inevitable result of  unrealistic policies that ignore basic economic and scientific principles..

The Boston Globe sheds some light on the most recent monumental failures in Caracastan:

Food projects of Hugo Chavez languishing in Venezuela

CARACAS — The harvesters imported to overcome food shortages are gathering cobwebs near a burnt corn field in central Venezuela. A short distance away is the shell of a fertilizer plant and rows of empty red-roofed bungalows.

This is the William Lara agricultural commune, the first of five such projects that late President Hugo Chavez said would reverse a 11-year rise in food imports and put products back on the nation’s shelves.

One year after his death, the last 30 workers on the site are removing equipment, surrounded by 4,300 soccer fields’ worth of cleared land baking in the savanna heat.

‘‘The president dies and the project dies with him,’’ Eumir Perez, William Lara’s former coordinator, said in an interview in Calabozo, a town in Guarico state 60 miles from the project. ‘‘The government is too busy staying in power, fighting against the capitalists’ economic war. No one dreams big anymore.’’

The $300 million commune is one of the many projects on which the government has squandered the $50 billion Venezuela receives each year from oil exports, said Anabella Abadi, an analyst at public policy consultancy ODH Grupo Consultor. The national comptroller office’s 2013 annual report says there are 4,381 unfinished public infrastructure projects in Venezuela, a quarter of them started before 2006.

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