Venezuela: Inflation, basic goods shortages, and a whole lotta’ political instability

posted at 8:41 pm on June 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is only two months into his leadership of the socialist country following the death of longtime strongman Hugo Chavez earlier this year, but things are already going decidedly poorly for him. Opposition leader Henry Capriles has yet to back down on his challenge to the legitimacy of Maduro’s ostensible victory in the special election, and that highly public conflict combined with other roiling political instability and major economic problems are having quite the negative impact on his popularity. Maduro has tried time and time again to inexorably link up his own image with that of the country’s erstwhile leader in an attempt to buoy up Venezuelans’ confidence and/or affection for him, but the strategy hasn’t been nearly enough to stop what appears to be a growing tide of disenchantment and dissatisfaction:

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles says President Nicolas Maduro’s government will “cave in” under the pressure of growing economic troubles, in-fighting and a belief by many Venezuelans that it stole the April election. …

“I think this government, in the current conditions of illegitimacy added to a deep economic crisis it’s showing no intention of addressing, is going to cave in,” Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, told Reuters. …

Some opinion polls show Capriles a few points ahead of Maduro should a presidential election be repeated – an unlikely prospect, however, given the election board’s multiple pronouncements that the results stand, including after an audit.

“This is the only government that took over and did not go up in the polls,” Capriles said. “There was no honeymoon. Look at all the countries in the Americas and the world, a government goes up some 10-15 points after taking over. Look at the opinion polls now, Maduro has an average of 40 percent.”

Of course, the various well-entrenched installations of the Venezuelan government are having none of that; their Electoral Council just finished up an “audit” of the special election that confirmed the only results that Maduro’s regime could ever possibly allow:

Venezuela’s Electoral Council has completed an audit of results from April’s bitterly contested presidential election, and as expected it confirmed Nicolas Maduro’s 1.5 percentage-point victory. …

Backers of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles claim rampant irregularities included the intimidation of voters and manipulating the outcome through votes cast in the names of dead people still on voting rolls. …

Capriles has called the audit a farce.

He has challenged the April 13 election results at the Supreme Court, which like the National Electoral Council is dominated by the political heirs of President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in March after anointing Maduro as his successor.

And that’s just the one facet of the political side of the instability-spectrum; when I said “major economic problems,” I was not messing around. The Financial Times reports:

Hyperinflation is looming in Venezuela, with prices suffering their highest monthly rise on record in May, while the economy slides into recession and the popularity of Nicolas Maduro, the new president, wanes.

Prices rose 6.1 per cent in May, compared with 1.6 per cent in the same period last year, bringing accumulated inflation for the first five months of 2013 to 19.4 per cent, almost as high as the annual figure for 2012 of 20.1 per cent. …

At the same time, the economy is losing steam, with 0.7 per cent growth registered in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 5.9 per cent growth in the same period last year. Analysts at London-based consultancy Capital Economics suspect that the Venezuelan economy may already be in recession, and forecast that gross domestic product will contract by 1 per cent this year.

The highly import-dependent Venezuelans are dealing with everyday shortages of basic commodities like toilet paper, flour, sugar, milk, butter, and cooking oil, while the country’s economic growth rate stalls out and dollars are getting harder and harder to come by. If he has any intention of keeping the political situation under control and stopping Venezuelans’ material suffering, he better start making moves.


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Les doo dis heeurrr. Say iyes to inmigrayshun reform.

El_Terrible on June 10, 2013 at 8:47 PM

When the US reaches the toilet shortage tipping point, do you think the State Run Media will notice?

d1carter on June 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Must be supper time. Erica, a photoshop entry I made at Freaking News that linked one of your posts won gold. Its here if you care to have a gander.

Bmore on June 10, 2013 at 8:49 PM

We should also stop being critical of neighboring democracies. That includes comments about violence in Mexico. Criticizing these countries won’t help win the Latino vote.

El_Terrible on June 10, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Until I started paying attention to the article I thought you were writing about the US.

docflash on June 10, 2013 at 8:50 PM

A portrait of Venezuela.

Also a window into the future of ObamiNation (FKA USA).

Steve Eggleston on June 10, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Looks like hugo wasn’t the guy to make socialism/fascism/communism/progressivism work either.

Maybe Hollande in france is. If not the french deserve it.

jukin3 on June 10, 2013 at 8:55 PM

The highly import-dependent Venezuelans are dealing with everyday shortages of basic commodities like toilet paper

We should send them the New York Times.

The Rogue Tomato on June 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Janet “Reno” Napolitano will send him lots of bullets to use on the rioting peasants.

patch on June 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Political instability in Venezuela?

So how long do you think it is going to take for millions of Venezuelans to start flooding into Los Estados Unidos based on Marco Rubio’s assurance on Univision that ILLEGAL aliens are about to be legalized?

Venezuelans would be fools to even consider following the legal process for entering the U.S.A.

wren on June 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Look for him to start some crap with Columbia.

ThePrez on June 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM

I don’t have my reading glasses on but wasn’t the election in November?

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Sorry for misspelling your name Erika.

Bmore on June 10, 2013 at 9:02 PM

We have our own Venezuela going on here……..I will refrain from casting stones at the new idjit of Caracas.

PappyD61 on June 10, 2013 at 9:03 PM

“I think this government, in the current conditions of illegitimacy added to a deep economic crisis it’s showing no intention of addressing, is going to cave in,” Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, told Reuters. …

Who gives a $hit what you think of the Obama administration, Capriles.

BacaDog on June 10, 2013 at 9:03 PM

We should also stop being critical of neighboring democracies. That includes comments about violence in Mexico. Criticizing these countries won’t help win the Latino vote.
El_Terrible on June 10, 2013 at 8:50 PM
+++++++++++++++++++++++
hahahahahahaha… wait, you weren’t being serious, right?
Getting the Hispanic vote is irrelevant… getting the WHITE vote is what will win elections for a while to come. The “stupid party” forgot that the last two elections and seem hell-bent on ignoring the fact now…

fabrexe on June 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Look for him to start some crap with Columbia.

ThePrez on June 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM

That would seem to be his only option for a “short, victorious war”. And Columbia has about as much oil as Venezuela, and probably more LNG.

Of course even seizing Columbia, and its resources, wouldn’t change Venezuela’s basuic problem, that being typical socialist caudillo “management”, that could bankrupt Switzerland even if it also owned de Beers.

The best Maduro can hope for is the solution every Latin American dictator, of any political stripe, has relied upon for almost two centuries. I.e., keeping the lid on “unrest” with his army until said army revolts and rallies behind a military strongman to pull a coup d’etat.

At which point Maduro beats it out of the country with the clothes on his back, and the numbers of the Luxembourg accounts where he stashed the national treasury.

My guess is he goes to Saudi Arabia. After all, it worked for Idi Amin.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 10, 2013 at 9:13 PM

…so is Nickie going to make Sean Penn his VP?

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Who gives a $hit what you think of the Obama administration, Capriles.

BacaDog on June 10, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Owebama will call him and make it all ok.

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 9:18 PM

…so is Nickie going to make Sean Penn his VP?

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2013 at 9:18 PM

BFF.

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Must be supper time. Erika, a photoshop entry I made at Freaking News that linked one of your posts won gold. Its here if you care to have a gander.

Bmore on June 10, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Very nice work.

Curtiss on June 10, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Venezuela: Inflation, basic goods shortages, and a whole lotta’ political instability

…and Obama wants to turn the USA into “North Venezuela”!! He admired Chavez, who routinely nationalized successful companies and turned them into useless trash.

landlines on June 10, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Bright side: beauty queen emigres, mis amigos!

derit on June 10, 2013 at 9:27 PM

he better start making moves.

No worries, arrests are just around the corner.

GarandFan on June 10, 2013 at 9:32 PM

When the US reaches the toilet shortage tipping point, do you think the State Run Media will notice?

d1carter on June 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM

The new yawk times is looking forward to it. Gives their newspaper some use.

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 9:38 PM

I guess the Venezuelan communist experiment is just another doing it wrong attempt in a long line of failed attempts. But trust the communists around the world; next time someone will get it right!

NotCoach on June 10, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Backers of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles claim rampant irregularities included the intimidation of voters and manipulating the outcome through votes cast in the names of dead people still on voting rolls.

It’s almost like they were…

us.

trigon on June 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Amazing that countries like Venezuela and Mexico can sit on top of all those energy resources and still muck it up. Glad we’re better than that!

/s

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 11, 2013 at 1:56 AM

I wonder if Obama still has Chavez’s book? Typical left wingers talking about books. The O didn’t even defend America in that meeting. What a Azz Hole

Oil Can on June 11, 2013 at 7:53 AM

When the US reaches the toilet shortage tipping point, do you think the State Run Media will notice?

d1carter on June 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Only if it can be connected to the right.

Dr. Frank Enstine on June 11, 2013 at 8:39 AM

There’s no other possible outcome to socialism…never has been – never will be.

cajunpatriot on June 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

When the US reaches the toilet [paper] shortage tipping point, do you think the State Run Media will notice?

d1carter on June 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM

The newsrags will have all gone under by then, so, they won’t even be available for this purpose. So, no, they won’t notice.

GWB on June 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM