With Sunday being International Workers Day in many countries with a leftist orientation, says the Miami Herald, the people of Venezuela should be celebrating.
But with the country on the verge of collapse, May 1 is not a time for celebration, especially because there is little to eat, nor the beer to wash it down with. It is almost a tragedy that a country so full of promise could be so easily ridden into the ground by the greed and stupidity of one man.
Two forces have been at work in the oil-rich country. One is the severe drought, a natural disaster, brought on by the El Nino weather anomaly. But while other countries in the region have managed to weather the drought conditions, Venezuela was already crippled by a failing economy that was man-made.
“Simply put, a natural disaster is making a man-made disaster much worse,” said Donald Kingsbury, a professor of political science and Latin American studies at the University of Toronto, reports CBC News Canada. Kingsbury says the “man-made” disaster was the huge fall in crude oil prices and the impact that had on the oil-dependent country.
While what Professor Kingsbury says may be true, it is not the only “man-made” disaster that has played a role in the country’s precipitous fall. Most of the blame can be placed at President Maduro’s feet. Maduro and the Chavistas have eroded the economy by taking over the free market and fixing prices and controlling the allocation of goods.
As Forbes columnist, Tim Worstall says, “If you fix a price, whether for toilet paper or currency, if you set it below that market clearing price then you will have shortages.” And that is what Maduro has been doing while throwing money around at the international level trying to court political influence.
In the meantime, the cost of toilet paper, medicines, and other basic goods has skyrocketed along with basic services. Inflation is expected to reach a dizzying 720 percent sometime this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, with the economy contracting an additional 10 percent.
When it comes to salaries, there aren’t any for most people. That crisis has spread as the leader of the opposition-led National Assembly said lawmakers were not being paid. “There’s no money to pay salaries this month” for legislators or staff, said National Assembly speaker Henry Ramos Allup, according to the Miami Herald.
Maduro and his cohorts have finally managed to go too far. After ordering a two-day work week for public employees this week and closing schools on Friday, all to save on energy, Digital Journal reported today that Maduro has ordered people to set their clocks ahead 30 minutes in order to save additional energy.
Incompetence, coupled with greed and stupidity on maduro’s part has led to Venezuela’s crisis, and it is time to oust Maduro before the country falls flat on its face. Maduro can blame his troubles on anything or anyone he wants, but it still won’t make a difference to those people trying to survive on nothing to eat as they swelter in homes without electricity. So I say to the people of Venezuela, get on with the referendum.