TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Chaos in Venezuela: Maduro's madness

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Tribune-Review

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Chaos that Venezuela's socialist ruler unleashed by outrageously seizing stores selling electronics and extending blanket price controls elsewhere is a cautionary tale for all who think every problem's answer is more government intrusion and control.

That “state knows best” attitude, personified by the late President Hugo Chavez's penchant for nationalizing industries, has made Venezuela an economic basket case: 54-percent inflation, with such basics as milk, toilet paper and flour in short supply. Yet with municipal elections a month away, President Nicolas Maduro on Friday doubled down on his predecessor's ill-advised approach.

Accusing the five-store Daka chain of price gouging, Mr. Maduro ordered soldiers to “occupy” the stores and liquidate their stock at “significantly lower prices,” according to The New York Times. Huge crowds then went bargain-hunting — or, as in Valencia, Venezuela's third-largest city — looting at the stores.

Maduro maintains he's fighting an “economic war” against domestic right-wing opponents and their Colombian and American supporters. But what he's really fighting are immutable laws of basic economics — a losing battle for sure.

However many store managers he arrests for supposed price-gouging, however many other retailers he targets and however much anti-capitalist rhetoric he spouts, Maduro's not going to turn Venezuela's economy around by increasing state control. After all, it's nationalization and socialism — not free markets and capitalism — that have brought Venezuela its economic woes.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. The IRS scandal: The gun smokes
  2. Hillary Clinton needs to answer for squandered aid money to Afghanistan’s corrupt war ministries
  3. The big sting: To what end?
  4. Donor kidney discard rates: Unanswered questions
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.