If you’ve been following any of the news out of Venezuela since Nicolas Maduro came to power you already know that pretty much every aspect of the country has been swirling near the bottom of the drain. The economy has collapsed, their currency is worthless, people are starving and lack basic medical supplies. The list goes on.

But thus far most of the awfulness which the inevitable collapse of socialism has engendered has been restricted to negative effects showing up on the land inside of Venezuela and that of its neighbors. (Ecuador is currently dealing with a refugee crisis as millions of Venezuelans attempt to flee for their lives.) And yet there’s another poison pill in the legacy of Maduro which is taking place offshore. Piracy is making a comeback, and these aren’t the fun sorts of pirates from Hollywood. (Washington Post)

Centuries after Blackbeard’s cannons fell silent and the Jolly Roger came down from rum ports across the Caribbean, the region is confronting a new and less romanticized era of pirates.

Political and economic crises are exploding from Venezuela to Nicaragua to Haiti, sparking anarchy and criminality. As the rule of law breaks down, certain spots in the Caribbean, experts say, are becoming more dangerous than they’ve been in years.

Often, observers say, the acts of villainy appear to be happening with the complicity or direct involvement of corrupt officials — particularly in the waters off collapsing Venezuela.

“It’s criminal chaos, a free-for-all, along the Venezuelan coast,” said Jeremy McDermott, co-director of Insight Crime, a nonprofit organization that studies organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some of these stories are the stuff of nightmares. A few months ago, pirates boarded four Guyanese fishing boats, doused the crews with oil, set them aflame and hacked most of them to death according to the few survivors. Both commercial shipping vessels and private yachts have been raided. This is becoming increasingly more common in a few areas in that region, but as the report indicates, nowhere is it more common than off the coast of Venezuela.

Unfortunately, not all the pirates are independent actors. One of the most disturbing aspects being reported is that members of the Venezuelan Coast Guard, also lacking in food and money worth more than wallpaper, have taken to doing some off-hours piracy of their own. They’ve been shaking down the merchant vessels they were supposed to be protecting, demanding cash and goods in exchange for being able to travel the area unmolested.

The corruption of Nicolas Maduro and his socialist regime is spreading like a poison, affecting everything it touches. But as we’ve said here more times than I can count, this is how socialism ends. This is how socialism always ends. And until the Venezuelan people unburden themselves of their tyrant it’s only going to get worse.