The fight for food has begun in Venezuela. On any day, in cities across this increasingly desperate nation, crowds form to sack supermarkets. Protesters take to the streets to decry the sky-rocketing prices and dwindling supplies of basic goods. The wealthy improvise, some shopping online for food that arrives from Miami. Middle-class families make do with less: coffee without milk, sardines instead of beef, two daily meals instead of three. The poor are stripping mangos off the trees and struggling to survive.
The political stakes are mounting. Exhausted by government-imposed power blackouts, spiralling crime, endless food lines, shortages of medicine and waves of looting and protest, citizens are mobilising against their leaders. In recent days, Venezuelans lined up to add their names to a recall petition that aims to bring down the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, and put an end to the socialist-inspired “revolution” ignited 17 years ago by Hugo Chavez.
A pity he isn’t around to see how successful his revolution is.
Under Chavez, the government established a network of government-run supermarkets that sold basic foods at subsidised prices. But inflation has put even these bargains out of reach for many people. A single kilogram of yucca – about two pounds – now costs about one-third of the weekly minimum wage.
I await Labour to launch this as policy and call it Kiwimarkets!
Venezuela’s ability to produce food and other goods has dwindled over the years as the government has expropriated private companies, expanded price controls, and otherwise discouraged private production. Corn, rice and other foods once grown domestically now have to be imported.
But they have less income inequality now as they got rid of the private companies!
“There is no humanitarian crisis,” Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told an Organisation of American States meeting last week.
We have always been at war with Eurasia.