Just like they do in Cuba, the Castro regime’s puppet dictatorship in Venezuela is controlling the population through hunger.
How Venezuela’s Repressive Government Controls the Nation Through Hunger
The Venezuelan government has become one of the world’s cruelest teasers. It has created unspeakable hardships for the populace and, at the same time, is taking advantage of those hardships to introduce new forms of political control.
The proliferation of food lines is a perfect example of this teasing. Lines to buy groceries have become longer and more widespread. In a country with plenty of irritants, these food lines, hardly seen before 2010, have become Venezuela’s most aggravating political problem today.
You would think that food lines would prompt riots. And some rioting is occurring. But we are not seeing anything like a Venezuelan Spring in which protests envelop the country and lead to governmental change. Why? Because food lines have paradoxically given the government new mechanisms for keeping protests at bay.
Venezuela is facing a manmade food crisis. In the mid-2000s, under President Hugo Chávez, the state implemented a series of ill-conceived economic policies: price controls, arbitrary expropriations, overvalued exchange rates and overregulation of the private sector. These policies destroyed Venezuela’s capacity to produce goods domestically, including food. Between 2008 and 2014, which analysts often consider boom years in Venezuela, the agricultural gross domestic product per capita shrank by an average of 4.7 percent annually.
When oil prices were high, from 2004 to 2013, the government could ignore the collapse of domestic production because it could spend petrodollars on imports. But when oil prices started declining in 2014, the government adjusted by reducing the money available for imports. This reduction affected food, fertilizer and agricultural equipment. The result is today’s food crisis.
None of the Chávez-era policies that led to the food crisis have changed. If anything, Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has reinforced the model he inherited. The only change has been the introduction of a rationing system. The government launched consumption quotas, giving people permission to buy certain quantities of certain products on certain days of the week, but no more. Maduro has thus Sovietized Venezuela. And predictably, rationing has exacerbated the food lines. Today, Venezuelans spend an average of 8 hours a week shopping and standing in line.
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