Venezuela on the edge of collapse?

posted at 10:01 am on February 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Have the people of Venezuela finally tired of Chavismo now that Hugo Chavez is no longer around to front it? Frustrated by the collapse of their economy, Venezuelans have poured into the streets of Caracas to protest — and an armed gang of motorcycle vigilantes shot up the crowd:

Armed vigilantes on motorcycles attacked anti-government demonstrators in Venezuela on Wednesday, setting off a stampede by firing into crowds as the biggest protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s year-old administration turned violent. Three people were killed.

Chaos erupted in downtown Caracas when the gang roared up and began shooting at more than 100 protesters who had been sparring with security forces at the tail end of heated but otherwise peaceful protests organized by hard-line members of the opposition. Most of the roughly 10,000 participants in the demonstrations had already gone home.

As people fled in panic, one demonstrator fell to the ground with a bullet wound in his head. Onlookers screamed “assassins” as they rushed the 24-year-old marketing student to a police vehicle. He was later identified by family members as Bassil Da Costa.

Also killed was the leader of a pro-government 23rd of January collective, as militant supporters of Venezuela’s socialist administration call themselves. National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said the “revolutionary” known by his nickname Juancho was “vilely assassinated by the fascists” but he didn’t provide details.

The troubles moved eastward to the wealthier neighborhood of Chacao after nightfall, leaving another unidentified demonstrator dead from a bullet wound, district Mayor Ramon Muchacho said via Twitter. Calm returned as midnight approached, leaving smoldering trash cans strewn along several blocks where demonstrators threw rocks at government buildings.

There hasn’t been much coverage of these events by the US media of these protests, or of Venezuela’s economic collapse. CNN’s coverage of the shootings in Caracas notes that Maduro alleged that the protests were a “coup,” but otherwise mention little about the economic conditions in the country.  Neither does the Associated Press report at the Post, other than to note the “inflation-plagued economy [and] worsening crime,” which makes it sound like the Jimmy Carter administration.

The truth is much worse than that, as Stephanie Nolen reports for The Globe and Mail in Canada:

In the serene private clubs of Caracas, there is no milk, and the hiss of the cappuccino machine has fallen silent. In the slums, the lights go out every few days, or the water stops running. In the grocery stores, both state-run shops and expensive delicatessens, customers barter information: I saw soap here, that store has rice today. The oil engineers have immigrated to Calgary, the soap opera stars fled to Mexico and Colombia. And in the beauty parlours of this nation obsessed with elaborate grooming, women both rich and poor have cut back to just one blow-dry or manicure each week.

Venezuela, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, is a leading candidate for next collapsed state. …

Inflation is running at over 50 per cent, a raging black market buys dollars at more than 10 times the official rate, domestic industry has all but shut down; there are critical shortages of many consumer staples, including corn flour for arepas, the national breakfast. TV stations – now all state-controlled – are full of ads that alternately denounce capitalism or show square-shouldered actors talking about how they don’t hoard and buy only what they need. Billboards boast of how socialist Venezuela has never been stronger; yet almost no one has toilet paper in their bathrooms.

The apocalypse hasn’t come yet. “The crash never comes because Venezuela has an insurance other countries don’t have – one of the largest oil reserves in the world,” said Jorge Roig, president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce. Venezuela’s economic indicators defy logic, he said, but the international thirst for oil has postponed the day of reckoning.

Except that, as Nolen reported earlier in the week, the oil industry in Venezuela is slowly collapsing, too:

When Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez recently announced an ambitious new target of six million barrels per day by 2019, the state-run press heralded the imminent expansion of an industry vital to the country’s health.

But people here heard the news and rolled their eyes. After all, the last five-year plan had a goal of 5.8 million barrels a day by 2012, only to finish last year at just 2.9 million. That’s down from 3.2 million back in 2005.

In fact, the last time Venezuela’s oil industry productivity per employee was this low was 1940.

There is open speculation about how long Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) can carry on, even at its current depressed level. There is little faith in the official data put out by the firm – whose senior managers are now mostly political appointees. And rumours are circulating about accidents, breakdowns and critical shortages of even the most basic supplies needed to run the business.

Before Chavez, Venezuela was a successful petro-state with a significant middle class and stable economics. Then Chavez created a command economy, expropriated private property, and ruled by whim for most of his term as president/dictator. He managed that through brute force and a cult of personality, but his successor only has brute force to use.

This could get ugly quickly. Perhaps the American media might get interested in this story sometime soon, enough to report not just when the bullets fly, but why Venezuelans are marching in the streets and their government is at least tacitly allowing violence to drive them off. At least Canadians know what’s going on in Venezuela.

Update: Fausta Wertz sees a little more interest in the American media today, but not much. She’s not optimistic about Venezuela’s future, either:

An arrest warrant has been issued for opposition leader Leopoldo López.

Unless a sizable fraction of the military actively backs the opposition, I expect a new era of repression in Venezuela, so I’m not optimistic.

Keep Fausta on your reading list for her focus on Latin America, too.


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Another progressive victory!

newarker on February 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Sean penn where are? The leftists paradise is collapsing

jaywemm on February 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Bishop

307wolverine on February 13, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Lean Forward.

Murphy9 on February 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

a left wing dream state.

rob verdi on February 13, 2014 at 10:06 AM

And I thought Venezuelans were tired of using anything they can find as a substitute for toilet paper.

sadatoni on February 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Socialism has a perfect negative record, yet our trolls plus more of the same with as much enthusiasm as they can muster.

307wolverine on February 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM

…they’re dying… for toilet paper?

KOOLAID2 on February 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Their are multiple problems, one of which is the Cuban infiltration of the Government. We are looking at power struggles between Chavezistas, between the Central government and regional governors, military units competing for spoils, and last but not least the class hatred progressives have used to legitimize their rule. It ends in blood, no matter what happens.

rob verdi on February 13, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Perhaps the American media might get interested in this story

Why? Their buddy Obama is trying to pull the same crap here!

GarandFan on February 13, 2014 at 10:11 AM

You bigots never bother to mention that their trains always run on time, why is that, because you hate little brown people, that’s why.

Bishop on February 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM

So, the tell for a govt collapse is a TP shortage. I’ll start hoarding today. There’s gotta be a black market for it.

Kissmygrits on February 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

So, the tell for a govt collapse is a TP shortage. I’ll start hoarding today. There’s gotta be a black market for it.

Kissmygrits on February 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Maybe not. I’m sure there are long lines for TP in North Korea as well, but it certainly is an indication that the government has totally Fluked things up. Which can lead to collapse if the government isn’t standing on the throats of its citizens.

NotCoach on February 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Doncha just luv it when a plan comes together?
Venezuelan spring
III

Sgt Stryker on February 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM

So, the tell for a govt collapse is a TP shortage. I’ll start hoarding today. There’s gotta be a black market for it.

Kissmygrits on February 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Why do you think the left is going so hard after the Koch brothers? They own Georgia-Pacific which makes Quilted Northern and Angel Soft toilet paper.

I think the established black market rate is 1 box of .22LR = 4 pack of double-ply.

HumpBot Salvation on February 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

I have seen our future under Dems, and it’s…see above. You can divide and ‘conquer’ the masses for only so long. Unless an economy continues to grow, it really does come down to a zero sum game and once the political and other ‘elites’ have gathered tipping-of-the-scales resources unto themselves, the streets will become the ruling factor.

vnvet on February 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Venezuela on the edge of collapse?

I certainly hope so…..change……

redguy on February 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

I bet The Won thinks he could have done this so much better.

Cindy Munford on February 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

There hasn’t been much coverage of these events by the US media of these protests, or of Venezuela’s economic collapse.

Are we sure that Chris Christie wasn’t involved? That he organized the protests or hijacked the toilet paper supply or something? Because any angle involving Christie would get CNN and MSNBC on the story immediately.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM

I guess the right people weren’t in charge. I’m sure the leftist in this country could have done much better.

HumpBot Salvation on February 13, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Fausta’s blog is always a great place for LatAm coverage. I also like to check in with http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/, where Venezuelan blogger Daniel Duquenal provides firsthand insights.

An arrest warrant has been issued for opposition leader Leopoldo López.

While López has been the most confrontational against the regime, I’m sure they’ll be coming for María Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma any time now. You’ll know things have gotten very desperate for the dictatorship if/when they actually move against Capriles.

steebo77 on February 13, 2014 at 10:24 AM

In the slums, the lights go out every few days, or the water stops running.

Hey, one can live with the lights going out every few days, but if the water stops running, that’s dangerous. It wouldn’t take much to contaminate much of the wider network and people start getting sick.

Dusty on February 13, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Poor people there.

bluegill on February 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

This is like watching a battered person who keeps going back for more. I guess it’s normal but you would think it would be as easy with all those people being unhappy.

Cindy Munford on February 13, 2014 at 10:31 AM

I wonder how much toilet paper could have been bought for these poor Venezuelans if Mooch wore J Crew instead of that hideous Marie Antoinette getup?

Socialism. It works! They swear!

Key West Reader on February 13, 2014 at 10:31 AM

By November, Dog Eater will be wearing a hat like that, mark my words.

Bishop on February 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Wake up america

Obama is awesome
-liv

cmsinaz on February 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM

In fact, the last time Venezuela’s oil industry productivity per employee was this low was 1940.

Wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…

Labor in socialist countries is inefficient and unproductive? Why didn’t someone just SAY so!

CycloneCDB on February 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Good thing only the police and thugs have guns. It could have gotten bloody if the citizens were armed. Some of those motorcycle thugs might have been shot. Wonder who was behind that attack?

Oldnuke on February 13, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Look at Venezuela and see your future.

randy on February 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Ahhhh, Utopia.

[Before America tried to crush the great socialist nation of Venezuela] “they had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles!” ~ Sean Penn in Team America

BKeyser on February 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

We’re getting there…just in slow motion..pesky Constitution.

Forward!

NY2SC on February 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

OT – the Rasmussen polls finally show Obama’s true approval. -10 or more for the last 3 days.

22044 on February 13, 2014 at 10:38 AM

You know, I’m starting to think that this socialism thing does not work…

ujorge on February 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Self-made; congratulations sheepleton of Venezuela.

It’s almost that time in the US.

Schadenfreude on February 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

In fact, the last time Venezuela’s oil industry productivity per employee was this low was 1940.

Wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…

Labor in socialist countries is inefficient and unproductive? Why didn’t someone just SAY so!

CycloneCDB on February 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Biggest loser: Joe Kennedy

22044 on February 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

If you study Chavez and what he accomplished (?) you will see the same thing going on with our president through executive orders, etc. Barack is learning from the mistakes in Venezuela and will make certain that we don’t have the ability to overcome his use of the IRS, the NSA actions and all the other steps he has taken. Little things like making it a penalty under the threat of perjury that a private company has to swear that they are not making cuts in personnel because of obamacare. Chavez did many of the very same things and now the country is collapsing which is where we are heading.

Pardonme on February 13, 2014 at 10:40 AM

So, an authoritarian dictator is standing on his palace balcony and waving executive orders trying futilely to revive his dying economy with the same methods that got it sick in the first place.

I’m so glad that can’t happen here.

Mord on February 13, 2014 at 10:40 AM

By November, Dog Eater will be wearing a hat like that, mark my words.

Bishop on February 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Well he was spotted at PetCo looking at parrots.

HumpBot Salvation on February 13, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Venezuela will either collapse or kill millions of citizens. Thats how socialists roll.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Liberals always hate when we compare them socialist dictators, yet they routinely give these people a pass when it come to their actions.

Tater Salad on February 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM

For some reason it gives me pleasure to know that those who vote in socialists wind up with no toilet paper.

ShadrachSmith on February 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM

So, the tell for a govt collapse is a TP shortage. I’ll start hoarding today. There’s gotta be a black market for it.

[Kissmygrits on February 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM]

Don’t go getting ahead of yourself. The tell for a TP shortage is the shutting down of newspapers, so don’t bother hoarding TP until you see something ominous, like, say the Feds sending FCC thugs to all newspaper offices to inquire about their news reporting policies and priorities.

Dusty on February 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

If you study Chavez and what he accomplished (?) you will see the same thing going on with our president through executive orders, etc. Barack is learning from the mistakes in Venezuela and will make certain that we don’t have the ability to overcome his use of the IRS, the NSA actions and all the other steps he has taken. Little things like making it a penalty under the threat of perjury that a private company has to swear that they are not making cuts in personnel because of obamacare. Chavez did many of the very same things and now the country is collapsing which is where we are heading.
Pardonme on February 13, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Working against Obama’s Coup: 200 million private firearms in the hands if citizens. American gun owners are collectively the largest unorganized militia army in the world.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Don’t go getting ahead of yourself. The tell for a TP shortage is the shutting down of newspapers, so don’t bother hoarding TP until you see something ominous, like, say the Feds sending FCC thugs to all newspaper offices to inquire about their news reporting policies and priorities.
Dusty on February 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Yeah, like that would EVER happen.

/sarc

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

American gun owners are collectively the largest unorganized militia army in the world.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Deer hunting season alone, America fields more armed men than the combined standing armies of China and India.

The leftist trash know not who they are messing with.

Bishop on February 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Deer hunting season alone, America fields more armed men than the combined standing armies of China and India.
The leftist trash know not who they are messing with.
Bishop on February 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM

And a man defending his home is worth 10 government mercenary invaders.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Question to the progressives – Is this collapse because of the bankruptcy of the vision / agenda (much of which the President and most Democrats are advocating here in the name of social justice and income equality) or the incompetence of the implementation?

Athos on February 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Venezuela’s crude oil production decline, which is heavy crude similar to Canada’s “tar sands”, began as a result of the several month long general strike by PDVSA’s white collar workers. They struck because of Chavez’s mishandling of the company and not allowing them to produce. They were all fired.

The company has consistently nationalized oil field service companies that tried to force PDVSA to pay overdue invoices. Invoices overdue by more than a year.

China has loaned substantial sums of money, but in exchange received Venezuelan crude at a very steep discount, when it was already discounted by $10/bbl beforehand.

The fact is that such heavy crude oil cannot be used on MOST refineries, only very complex refineries configured to handle it. They mostly exist in TX & LA, though to take advantage of Canadia heavy crude, U.S. Midwestern refineries are now configured to handle them, including PDVSA owned Citgo refinery in IL which now uses Canadian crude.

Kermit on February 13, 2014 at 11:06 AM

But it’s a socialist utopia!!!

U.S. not far behind…..

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Armed vigilantes on motorcycles attacked anti-government demonstrators in Venezuela on Wednesday

Eerily similar to Iran. With whom they are best buddies.

rbj on February 13, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Working against Obama’s Coup: 200 million private firearms in the hands if citizens. American gun owners are collectively the largest unorganized militia army in the world.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I could arm my entire family and several neighbors each with a long gun and a sidearm and 1000 rounds of ammo – well, I could have if I hadn’t lost everything in a freak fishing accident at the lake…..

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:13 AM

How do you say Embrace the Suck in Spanish?

crosshugger on February 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

See also the the other self-made toilet, Argentina.

Schadenfreude on February 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Cross out Maduro, pencil in Obama. Every time some pundit says the Democrats are trying to create “a European welfare state” here in the US, I wince. They are not. This is their aspiration – one party demogogic thug rule. To those who think it can’t happen here, wake up.

PeteC on February 13, 2014 at 11:18 AM

But it’s a socialist utopia!!!

U.S. not far behind…..

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM

The only reason socialism has never worked is that the wrong people have been trying to implement it. Not this time.

Oldnuke on February 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Could be a Socialist Utopia: they just arent doing it right../typical leftist

ninjacoastie on February 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM

the American left is disappointed the peons will not submit to the privations demanded of them by the Progressive elite.

pat on February 13, 2014 at 11:20 AM

I’m sure that Obama will be the guy to make socialism/fascism work!!

jukin3 on February 13, 2014 at 11:21 AM

I could arm my entire family and several neighbors each with a long gun and a sidearm and 1000 rounds of ammo – well, I could have if I hadn’t lost everything in a freak fishing accident at the lake…..

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:13 AM

That’s weird, I went fishing the other day and caught a double-barrel. I had to release it though, it was undersized.

HumpBot Salvation on February 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Watch out US. This could happen here

latina on February 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Could be a Socialist Utopia: they just arent doing it right../typical leftist
ninjacoastie on February 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The wrong people always try to implement socialism. Incidentally, it’s always the system CHOSEN by the wrong people. Good people would never try socialism.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM

That’s weird, I went fishing the other day and caught a double-barrel. I had to release it though, it was undersized.

HumpBot Salvation on February 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Ya – hate those minimum size limits for keepers.
No worse feeling than having to throw one back just cuz the barrel’s 1/2 inch too short….

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

The only reason socialism has never worked is that the wrong people have been trying to implement it. Not this time.

Oldnuke on February 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Funny coincidence how it’s always the wrong people who try to implement socialism….

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Did we change our name to Venezuela?
Tell O’bambi that name is already taken.

freedomfirst on February 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM

And a man defending his home is worth 10 government mercenary invaders.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:53 AM

What gives me pause is what happened at Ruby Ridge.

freedomfirst on February 13, 2014 at 11:50 AM

The important thing to remember here is that the Venezuelan flag now has the horse facing to the left and not the right. Priorities.

Borgcube on February 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Poor people there.

bluegill on February 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Don’t feel sorry for them. They voted in this regime in the first place. The same thing is happening here.

crankyoldlady on February 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I could arm my entire family and several neighbors each with a long gun and a sidearm and 1000 rounds of ammo – well, I could have if I hadn’t lost everything in a freak fishing accident at the lake…..

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Me too. If I had any guns, I think they were lost.

freedomfirst on February 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Working against Obama’s Coup: 200 million private firearms in the hands if citizens. American gun owners are collectively the largest unorganized militia army in the world.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I hope they get organized.

crankyoldlady on February 13, 2014 at 11:53 AM

The important thing to remember here is that the Venezuelan flag now has the horse facing to the left and not the right. Priorities.

Borgcube on February 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM

…and an extra star, correct?

freedomfirst on February 13, 2014 at 11:54 AM

What gives me pause is what happened at Ruby Ridge.

freedomfirst on February 13, 2014 at 11:50 AM

The difference will be that the stormtroopers won’t be ALLOWED to approach.

Another Ruby Ridge might well SPARK the revolution though.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I find it odd that the L.A. Times has no mention of these events. You’d think that with three people killed, it would be worth at least a couple column inches?

ajb3 on February 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Don’t feel sorry for them. They voted in this regime in the first place. The same thing is happening here.

crankyoldlady on February 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM

In their defense, it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a “free and fair” election.

steebo77 on February 13, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Eerily similar to Iran. With whom they are best buddies.

rbj on February 13, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Even if the lights go off and the water stops running, at least the good people of Venezuela can rest assured that the Caracas-Teheran flights will be operating on schedule.

steebo77 on February 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM

[ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM]

:-)

Dusty on February 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM

People had better take a good, long look at Venezuela because that is what life will be like in the US in the next ten years. Every time you hear some soft-headed Republican talk about how American liberals “mean well,” just look at Venezuela.

The company has consistently nationalized oil field service companies that tried to force PDVSA to pay overdue invoices. Invoices overdue by more than a year.

Kermit on February 13, 2014 at 11:06 AM

It’s not just the oil industry either. Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Toyota have all lost big money to hyperinflation in Venezuela.

The man children in charge of Venezuela have started whining about Toyota in response to their shutting down production.

Even if the lights go off and the water stops running, at least the good people of Venezuela can rest assured that the Caracas-Teheran flights will be operating on schedule.

steebo77 on February 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Nope, those aren’t running either: http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-venezuela-airlines-ticket-sales-20140124,0,2603008.story#axzz2tAyrXGHT

Doomberg on February 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Venezuela will either collapse or kill millions of citizens. Thats how socialists roll.

ConstantineXI on February 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Both will happen, followed by the Iranian regime taking control and converting Venezuela into an Islamofacist state.

You and I know that the Iranians want to point their nuke arsenal directly at us and fire at will. This is their golden opportunity.

Myron Falwell on February 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Before Chavez, Venezuela was a successful petro-state with a significant middle class and stable economics. Then Chavez created a command economy, expropriated private property, and ruled by whim for most of his term as president/dictator.

Remember, Chavez didn’t get there in a coup. He was elected and, like we always say, elections have consequences.

Occams Stubble on February 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

When Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez recently announced an ambitious new target of six million barrels per day by 2019, the state-run press heralded the imminent expansion of an industry vital to the country’s health.

But people here heard the news and rolled their eyes. After all, the last five-year plan had a goal of 5.8 million barrels a day by 2012, only to finish last year at just 2.9 million. That’s down from 3.2 million back in 2005

If the Venezuelan economy is on the verge of collapse, and the regime is only propped up by a weakening oil industry, the United States could encourage “regime change” by boycotting Venezuelan oil. This could be achieved through “energy independence”–producing enough oil in the United States through fracking and offshore drilling (or importing from friendly Canada) to supply our needs without Venezuelan oil.

As Margaret Thatcher pointed out, socialism only works until you run out of other people’s money. Cut off the money supply to Venezuela, and its socialist regime will crumble.

Steve Z on February 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Then Chavez created a command economy, expropriated private property, and ruled by whim for most of his term as president/dictator. He managed that through brute force and a cult of personality, but his successor only has brute force to use.

Kinda sounds like someone else we know, hmmmm?

Vince on February 13, 2014 at 1:14 PM

50% inflation? Heck they can get all the toilet paper they want by making a bank withdrawal now and then.

Don L on February 13, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Remember, Chavez didn’t get there in a coup. He was elected and, like we always say, elections have consequences.

Occams Stubble on February 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

This.

bofh on February 13, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Remember, Chavez didn’t get there in a coup. He was elected and, like we always say, elections have consequences.

Occams Stubble on February 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Hitler was elected too. Just sayin’.

307wolverine on February 13, 2014 at 1:56 PM

The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of toilet paper…er, other people’s money.

Thank you Lady thatcher.

jnelchef on February 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Perhaps the American media might get interested in this story sometime soon, enough to report not just when the bullets fly, but why Venezuelans are marching in the streets and their government is at least tacitly allowing violence to drive them off. At least Canadians know what’s going on in Venezuela.

Why would they report more on the collapse of yet another leftwing government?

Good Lt on February 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM

(Que up the forlorn music)

Please. Look into your hearts, America. Don’t let the innocent children of Venezuela suffer needlessly. Please donate today to “Bathrooms Without Borders” to ensure that every little brown child in Caracas can sleep tonight with a clean tush. Donate today. Your tax deductible gift will make a difference in this crappy world in which we live.

BigAlSouth on February 13, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Some pics that were sent of what’s happening in Venezuela HERE (NSFW)

JetBoy on February 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Watch out US. This could happen here

latina on February 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Seen Detroit lately?

V7_Sport on February 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

When reached for comment at his hillside mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Sean Penn was quoted as saying, “Vene who? What’s a Venezuelo?”

dinahmoehumm on February 13, 2014 at 2:46 PM

The wonderful Socialism that the Pope wants for his flock.

No Thanks!

RJL on February 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM

[singings] – We could use a man like jimmah carter again…..

WryTrvllr on February 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Boy, the way Maduro played. Throwing makers in stockade.
Guys like us, we warned those played. Those were the days.
Now we need no welfare state. Just a big collection plate.
Gee, our old system ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Ronald Reagan again.
People seemed to be content. People had jobs and paid the rent.
Libs were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, Did the dodgers every really win?
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
But we all know where things went wrong. Those Were The Days.

WryTrvllr on February 13, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Steve Z on February 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

That would assume anyone in our own socialist regime would actually want to force Venezuela to change away from their socialist regime…

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

If there’s any significant turnout at the May 16 OAS rally — that is, a turnout large enough to have anything close to the impact that they want — we can expect the same anonymous gunmen to show up there as well. It happened with a wink and a nod from 0 in Iran, now Venezuela. It’s SOP in for fascist dictatorial regimes to cause fear, chaos, and death at such protests.

They’ll blame it on the racist, violent, and bitterly clinging Tea Party. Oh, yes.

flicker on February 13, 2014 at 3:44 PM

flicker on February 13, 2014 at 3:44 PM

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/02/11/homeland-security-purchase-141000-rounds-sniper-ammo

But the Queen of England got some speeches

WryTrvllr on February 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

*armed vigilantes*=FEMA Black Shirts getting in some practice, in case Americans wake up and they’re needed to do the same thing here.

AppraisHer on February 13, 2014 at 4:01 PM

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