What’s the most reliable move for a socialist tyrant when his corrupt system begins collapsing under its own weight? Blame an outside actor to create a common enemy. In the case of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, he’s chosen to accuse Barack Obama of attempting to start a revolt against his government while his nation spirals out of control amidst the collapse of their currency. As riots continued to take place and the opposition protested the sudden cancellation of bales of 100 bolivar notes they were stuck with, Maduro took a page from the Castro playbook and decided to blame America for all of his woes. (Yahoo News)
The decision to eliminate the 100 bolivar note led to long lines at banks as Venezuelans attempted to get rid of the bills last week before the ban took effect, the Associated Press reported.
A new batch of currency was due to arrive Sunday afternoon, including notes up to 20,000 bolivars ($2,001.99), but the planes were rerouted, teleSur reported.
Maduro accused the arrested members of the opposition of carrying out U.S. orders to create chaos in the country, and accused U.S. President Barack Obama of trying to incite a coup. He said the elimination of the 100 bolivar note was an effort to urge Venezuelans to use electronic transactions and curb organized crime. However, 40 percent of the population does not have a bank account.
The remaining opposition parties in Venezuela, most notably the Popular Will and Justice First parties, have been pushing back against the deteriorating conditions and Maduro’s iron grip on the government. Just as predictably, the president adopted the same formula we’ve seen in Turkey, Cuba, Russia and other authoritarian regimes by arresting hundreds of them. Once they’ve disappeared from view, the word tends to get around and “opposition” can become significantly less popular.
None of this seems to be fixing Maduro’s currency problems however. The initial announcement of the elimination of the 100 Bolivar note sent a shock wave through the country and the government initially tried to correct course by saying the notes would be honored until the beginning of January. Oddly enough, both businesses and individuals still didn’t want to take them. Gee… ya think? It’s not as if people weren’t already in a panic over the fact that you needed a wheelbarrow to haul enough cash into the store to purchase a loaf of bread. Now you tell them that the money they are lugging around has an expiration date and the ability of the banks to make good on it is already in question. While we should never advocate violence or crime, it’s not hard to understand how some of the starving Venezuelans decided to cut out the middle man and just begin looting the grocery stores.
What’s happening in Venezuela right now is quite reminiscent of what happened to the Lira in Italy under Mussolini. At one point the cost of a meal in Italy during that period could run into six figures because their paper money was essentially worthless. The situation deteriorated from that point as we all learned in high school. This is how such regimes always end and it’s the Venezuelans who are paying the price for it this time… in many cases with their lives.