Can you say, “Awkward?”

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has more than a simple PR problem on his hands. His people are starving thanks to yet another collapse of fundamental socialist principles and hungry people tend to become considerably less polite and politically correct. In an attempt to build up some good word of mouth in the media, Maduro traveled to a region of the country where he won wide support during his last election to give a speech. But previously solid poll numbers are no defense against people with empty pantries and his subjects showed up to bang empty pots and caused the president to flee the area in fear of his life. (New York Times)

President Nicolás Maduro was chased at a routine political event by a crowd of angry protesters banging on pots and yelling that they were hungry, just days after thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets to call for his ouster, local news media reported on Saturday.

Scenes from the confrontation late Friday, which also appeared in videos uploaded to social media, captured the attention of Venezuelans, many of whom blame the unpopular president for the country’s food shortages.

In one video, Mr. Maduro tries to calm the pot-bangers by walking among them, only to be surrounded as the furious crowd yells obscenities.

“What is this?” an astounded voice behind the camera asks in one of the video clips.

It’s never safe to delve too deeply into prognostication, but I’d venture to say that this is only the beginning. Maduro is at the helm of a nation which managed to put on a unified face as long as oil prices were high and the state controlled industry could keep laying enough golden eggs to meet their bills. But that well has largely run dry and people are protesting a lack of basic services, common goods such as toilet paper and, oh yes… food. There are people from the opposition party organizing a recall attempt, but going that route will take well into next year barring a drastic change in the government’s position. If the food runs out any faster, Maduro may not have that long to play politics. His citizens are aware that the wealthy supporters of the party are still eating well in gated communities while they are reduced to hustling in the streets for scraps.

These are the scenes which presage a bloody revolution. At the risk of repeating myself I’ll remind you of one hard and fast rule of governance over the history of mankind: This is how socialism ends. Every. Single. Time. But even if the people of Venezuela replace Maduro, another socialist will only delay the inevitable. What the citizens there need is actual freedom and whether they realize it or not, it’s almost within their grasp if they are literally and figuratively hungry enough to seize it for themselves.

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