By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
I have never seen a country in my lifetime devolve as fast as Venezuela has and I fear it is a window into our future considering the way things are going here in the States. This was the very predictable outcome for Venezuela thanks to Hugo Chavez implementing socialism/communism in the country. But instead of an uber slow, painful decline, Venezuela is getting all their pain pretty much at once. Depending on the next president (and it really doesn’t matter at this stage whether it is Clinton or Trump), we could see something very similar occur here. All the ingredients are in the mix to make it happen and fast.
Not long ago, Venezuelans would never have imagined that they would be starving and cooking their pets up for dinner. Sadly, that is exactly what is happening now. That and widespread violence. Last week, they burned a looter alive as an example to everyone else. This is what the endgame looks like in a despotic regime… we watch it like it is reality TV, but to Venezuelans, it is just reality and it is deadly. Radical Leftists were allowed to rule a wealthy country and this is the outcome. They had more proven oil reserves than anyone else on the planet, including Saudi Arabia. But those at the top ripped off the wealth and made sure everyone else was equally repressed and in want. Eventually, the system collapsed as it always does under this form of government. And violence and death follow every single time.
Now there are massive food shortages… people can’t even get toilet paper. Bread lines are a stark reality. Looting is taking place everywhere and every violent crime imaginable is being committed in broad daylight… no hope is coming for these victims and thanks to their government, they are not armed. If you will remember, Chavez was elected, then passed a law that got him named as president for life. Then he had the military seize the media. Businesses followed suit soon after. Now, chaos reigns.
Just how did such a wealthy country fall so fast? Look to the principles of socialism and communism. President Maduro has now declared a 60-day state of emergency in a desperate attempt to restore order. But he is also seizing all businesses. Inflation is wildly out of control there and the economy is systematically imploding. Their economy has shrunk by 5.7% last year and it is projected it will contract by another 8% in 2016. The official inflation rate in Venezuela now is 720% this year and it will be a horrific 2,200% next year.
If a family has any money at all, they run to the store and buy whatever they can, because that money will be worth far less in an hour, not just a day. Hello, Weimar Republic. This has created devastating shortages of food, basic supplies and medicine. Not only are people starving to death, those with medical conditions are dropping like flies.
By morning, three newborns were already dead.
The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.
Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.
Electricity is scarce and now, a two-day workweek has been imposed on many government employees in a desperate move to conserve energy. Most people aren’t working at all now. They are trying to survive. Crime is so prevalent, that most people self-curfew and lock themselves in before dark. And so it goes…
Leading the crime spree and ruling the streets now are the mafia and gangs. But a lot of crime is committed just by those that are hungry and are forced to steal to survive. In the first quarter of 2016, there were 107 reported incidents of looting or attempted looting in Venezuela. I’m sure there were many, many more than that.
Crowds of people in Venezuela have stolen flour, chicken and even underwear this week as looting increases across the country in the wake of shortages of many basic products. Many people have adopted the habit of getting up in the dead of night to spend hours in long lines in front of supermarkets. But as more end up empty-handed and black market prices soar, plundering is rising in Venezuela, an Opec nation that was already one of the world’s most violent countries.
There is no official data, but the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict, a rights group, have reported 107 episodes of looting or attempted looting in the first quarter of 2016. Videos of crowds breaking into shops, swarming on to trucks or fighting over products frequently make the rounds on social media, though footage is often hard to confirm.
On May 11th, thousands of hungry people stormed Maracay Wholesale Market in central Venezuela. The police could not stop them…
“They took milk, pasta, flour, oil, and milk powder. There were 5,000 people,” one witness told Venezuela outlet El Estímulo.
People from across the entire state came to the supermarket because there were rumors that some products not found anywhere else would be sold there.
“There were 250 people for each National Guard officer… lots of people and few soldiers. At least one officer was beat up because he tried to stop the crowd,” another source told El Estímulo.
This is by no means an isolated incident. When people get hungry, they get desperate and violent. There have been reports of looting at “pharmacies, shopping malls, supermarkets, and food delivery trucks.” During some of these episodes there have actually been people chanting “we are hungry.” Many are scavenging dumpsters and trash cans for food. When you are hungry, you will do anything to get food. Anything.
Cue the dining on dogs and cats:
Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.
Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger.
Here is Business Insider’s explanation…
The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).
Sounds a lot like what is going on here in the US. Obama has incompetently and purposefully mismanaged our money as well. Our national debt has risen $8 trillion since Obama has been in office. Corruption is everywhere and people are stealing America blind in the name of wealth redistribution. Our debt is double the size it was before the last crisis.
Our Constitutional Republic means next to nothing anymore. Obama has all but destroyed it and Clinton or Trump will finish it off. Our policies and laws mean nothing as well and we are being regulated to death. Thievery and corruption are totally out of control. The elite and special interest groups spend massive amounts of money to get their favorites into office, and in turn those politicians shower their good friends with money and favors. Threats of silencing the media and enemies about in political campaigns now. Thuggery has become the norm.
The US is a massive consumer, but doesn’t manufacture much anymore. We don’t have the oil wealth that Venezuela has, so the potential for us to collapse is even greater than there. We will definitely reap what we sow here. And it is coming like a freight train.