One reason for the near-total collapse of Venezuela’s economy has been the dramatic decline in world oil prices. But at the same time, Venezuela’s government-run oil company has been crumbling from within, producing less oil every month because of incompetence and mismanagement. In fact, last month was the lowest level of oil production the nation has seen in 30 years:

Venezuelan oil production crashed to a new 30-year low of 1.5 million barrels a day in June, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said today…

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Venezuela’s economic collapse is one of the worst in modern history. The economy has shrunk 45 percent since 2013 and the IMF expects it to contract 15 per cent in 2018 alone, with inflation reaching 13,800 per cent.

It turns out that stacking the nation’s leading industry with socialist cronies isn’t great for actual oil production. But even as the nation faces five-digit inflation and people starving at home, President Nicolas Maduro continues to ship subsidized oil to his buddies in communist Cuba. The Miami Herald explains why:

News reports that a shipment of 500,000 barrels of crude was on its way this week to the port of Matanzas in northwestern Cuba sparked indignation among many in Venezuela, a country suffering under the worst economic crisis of its history.

The oil that Venezuela supplies to Cuba equals about 55,000 barrels per day and costs about $1.2 billion per year, money that could help the country curb inflation, import urgently needed medicines or provide food to the 9 million Venezuelans who say they eat only once per day…


“Because Cuba today is the real mainstay of his power,” said De La Cruz. “Without the Cuban support, Maduro would have been gone a long time ago. Havana today is supplying him with the instruments of repression and the intelligence apparatus that allows him to stay in power despite the tornado he faces.”…

“There have been purchases of light crude in the open market, Russian crudes, and these are sent to Cuba,” said Juan Fernandez, former PDVSA executive director of planning.

That’s extremely expensive, Fernandez added, “but Maduro’s commitment to the Cuban regime is indestructible. Venezuela goes hungry before he stops sending barrels to Cuba.”

A security analyst tells the Herald that if not for Cuba’s help, Maduro would be unable to prevent some of the plots aimed at removing him from office. So he’ll continue to pay however much he must to keep Cuba happy, even as people in Venezuela have resorted to butchering dogs in the street.

Inflation has become so bad that a cup of coffee now costs 1 million bolivars. The cost of a haircut is about the same. Everyone in Venezuela is a millionaire and nearly everyone is starving. As the report below shows, regular people have started to abandon money altogether and are returning to a system of bartering like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. This is what you get in a state that adopts socialist policies: hungry people, useless money, and a security state that sees the people as a potential threat to its continued existence.