It’s no exaggeration – and no Cuban-style hyperbole either- that Venezuela under “mini-me” Chavez is traveling down the same dark road that Cuba under castro has paved.
As further proof of this, a feature story in today’s El Nuevo Herald addresses food shortages in many Venezuelan supermarkets. Lack of sugar, beef, milk, eggs, rice, beans…you know, the essentials.
I apologize for not translating the article for our non-Spanish reading visitors, but here’s a summary:
– According to a poll of 1,300 people conducted by private firm Datanalisis, 73 percent admitted having difficultied finding sugar; 52 percent had problems finding beef, and more than 45 percent could not find powdered milk and chicken.
– The cause? A simple lack of supply to meet demand. Last year, demand increased 18.8 percent while the gross domestic product was only 10.3 percent.
– During the first trimester of 2007, the rate of consumption has risen 18.5 percent, up from the 15 percent during the same time period in 2005 and 2006.
– In an effort to resolve this problem, the government has, among other things, removed taxes on certain goods. Nevertheless, the situation appears to be getting worse.
Here’s a quote from Mirian Ramos, a 69-year-old retiree:
This is a disaster, there are no eggs, no powdered milk, nothing. To go out to the supermarket, I need to wear low-heeled shoes because you have to walk a lot in order to get what I want. This is a disaster. I need skim milk, and since I can’t find any, I’ve been drinking calcium with water. This already resembles Cuba.