‘Venezuela: The Fruits of Socialism – Update’

“Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

“In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of ‘Socioeconomic Rights’ {!?!} said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries, as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.
{Of course. The Bolsheviks used the same excuse in 1918…}

Venezuelan authorities escort a bread-maker out of a shop in Caracas. (Courtesy Prensa Sundde)

“In a statement, the government said the bakers had been selling underweight bread and were using price-regulated flour to illegally make specialty items, like sweet rolls and croissants.
{The intersection of Tragedy and Farce – where a Monty Python skit begins…}

“The government said bakeries are only allowed to produce French bread and white loaves, or ‘pan canilla’, with government-imported flour. However, in a tweet on Thursday, price control czar {Good luck with that!} William Contreras said only 90% of baked goods had to be price-controlled products.

“Two bakeries were also seized for 90 days for breaking a number of rules, including selling overpriced bread.

Venezuela’s largest food company, Empresas Polar, in La Yaguara, Caracas, Venezuela. President Nicolás Maduro has accused Polar of sabotaging the economy (Ariana Cubillos-AP)

“Juan Crespo, the president of the Industrial Flour Union called ‘Sintra-Harina’ which represents 9,000 bakeries nationwide, said the government’s heavy hand isn’t going to solve the problem {!}.

“The government isn’t importing enough wheat,” he said. “If you don’t have wheat, you don’t have flour, and if you don’t have flour, you don’t have bread.”

“The notion that bread could become an issue in Venezuela is one more indictment of an economic system gone bust. The country boasts the world’s largest oil reserves but it has to import just about everything else. Facing a cash crunch, the government has dramatically cut back imports, sparking shortages, massive lines and fueling triple-digit inflation.

“Earlier this week, President Nicolás Maduro launched “Plan 700” against what he called a “bread war”, ordering officials to do spot checks of bakeries nationwide. In the plan, the government said it would not allow people to stand in line for bread but it’s unclear how it might enforce the order.

“The government is doing everything in its power to end the bread lines,” Crespo said, “but they’re looking at the whole thing backwards.” {!}

–‘Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem’,
Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, March 16, 2017


“The nonprofit ‘Transparency International’ says it has identified at least 511 companies that are either wholly or majority owned by the government of Venezuela — and 70% of them are losing money, potentially adding to Venezuela’s economic meltdown…

“We started this study because nobody really knows how many companies the state is running,” said Mercedes De Freitas, the director of the Venezuelan branch of ‘Transparency International’. “The state has invaded every sector imaginable.”

“De Freitas said the initial findings paint a picture of an oversized state hemorrhaging money — at a time when the country desperately needs it. The organization found that 70% of the 511 companies have produced losses in 2016 totaling 1.29 trillion bolivares — or about $129 billion dollars. That amount is 14% higher than what the government earmarked for education, health, housing, and social security that same year.

“Those losses come as payrolls at the ventures appear to be soaring. In the early 2000s, for example, the state-run oil company PDVSA, the crown jewel of Venezuela’s state-run enterprises, had about 20,000 employees. Now it’s thought to have 120,000 workers, even as oil revenue and output have fallen, De Freitas said.

“What does this mean?” she asked. “It means that the company has turned into a burden on society…”

Hugo Chavez

“During his 14-year tenure, the late President Hugo Chávez was a fierce advocate of state control of strategic sectors, and he went on to nationalize steel mills, agribusinesses and, most importantly, the critical oil industry.

“The process was sometimes chaotic, with Chávez announcing the seizure of companies on national television. At one point, he walked through the center of Caracas — again on live TV — pointing to buildings and ordering his ministers:

“Expropriate it!”

“The threat of government seizure was also used against those he saw as obstacles to his “socialist revolution”, and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, has carried on the tradition.

“Over the weekend, Maduro threatened to expropriate industrial bakeries, saying they were behind a “bread war” responsible for widespread shortages. Last year, he told workers to seize any company that was promoting anti-government demonstrations.

“The study comes as Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy is in crisis. The government hasn’t released inflation figures since 2015, but private groups estimate the 2016 rate at more than 700%. The economy is shrinking, and shortages of food and medicine sweep through the country.

“Maduro routinely blames the private sector and his opponents of waging an “economic war” against him. But his critics say it’s government policies — particularly expropriations — that are at the root of the problem.

“Maduro is causing deaths in Venezuelan society with the weapons of shortages and lack of economic productivity,” Omar Gonzalez, an opposition congressman from Anzoátegui state, said recently. “He pulls the trigger on shortages and expropriations that kill thousands of citizens daily.” …”

–‘Venezuelan government controls more than 500 businesses — and most are losing money’,
Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, March 14, 2017


See also:
‘Venezuela: The Fruits of Socialism’ {June 24, 2016}:

The country is falling apart, rapidly and completely. By many measures, it is one of the most blessed nations in the Americas. It has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, almost twice Canada’s. It has rich agricultural land, incredible biodiversity and huge amounts of mineral wealth.

And yet, its people are now starving; its infrastructure is in tatters; law and order have broken down...”



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One Response to “‘Venezuela: The Fruits of Socialism – Update’”

  1. ‘Venezuela: The Fruits of Socialism – Update’ | catsaremine3 Says:

    […] Source: ‘Venezuela: The Fruits of Socialism – Update’ […]


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