It’s come to this: Venezuelans trying to manage a shortage of… coffins
posted at 8:41 pm on June 16, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Cross a mass shortage of basic goods and materials (induced by heavy central planning) with the world’s second-highest murder rate (induced by poverty and the weaksauce rule of law), and what do you get?
Horror. Via Reuters:
Venezuelan funeral homes are struggling to find coffins, with production crimped by a shortage of brass, varnish and satin, complicating the process of burying the dead in one of the world’s most murderous countries.
Undertakers are borrowing coffins from each other or traveling to Colombia to get hold of them. …
Coffin production has dropped some 50 percent in recent months, said Ricardo Guedez, member and until recently president of the National Chamber for Funeral Companies.
That’s partly because manufacturers have been unable to import materials, struggling to obtain dollars because of the government’s strict currency controls.
There is also a shortage of brass because of slumping output at state steel mill Sidor, which late President Hugo Chavez nationalized in 2008.
Demand for funerals is driven by one of the world’s highest murder rates, which has long been Venezuelans’ main gripe with the socialist government. Castro said 70 percent of the corpses her company receives are murder victims.
Coffins are only the latest item to join the long and growing list of scarce things Venezuelans are currently going without, from flour to bottled water to electricity; as one head of a funeral home in Reuters‘ story put it, “Like anything in this country, we can’t get hold of them.” President Nicolas Maduro persists in blaming greedy business owners, underhanded political foes, and foreign conspirators for the country’s overwhelming economic problems, but when you actually have a government agency called the “Superior Organ of the Economy” whose job it is to tell businesses to cut prices, because the government says so, how can he honestly expect different results?