I was heartened to see the reprinting of a full page WaPo article on the deplorable situation in Venezuela in your 16 July edition. The article did an excellent job of describing the suffering of the average citizen due to shortages of even the most basic commodities. While the author did a good job of listing the symptoms of a sick economy, she fails to even name the cause: socialism.
How is it that one of the richest countries in South America, a country blessed with a huge variety of natural resources including vast oil deposits, a mild climate and large expanses of tillable soil, cannot feed its fairly small population? It is as if the author cannot bear to utter the word socialism, which does not appear once in her article.
What Chavez started by nationalizing businesses and driving foreign investors out of the country, the hapless former bus driver Maduro perfected, bringing total ruin to the Venezuelan economy with fatal doses of poisonous socialist medicine. Ham-handed government interventions such as price controls just created further shortages as more factories closed and consumers hoarded. When prices rose, government increases in the minimum wage proved futile with runaway inflation always a step ahead. The author also fails to mention the repression and gradual slide into totalitarianism in Venezuela, inevitably following the failure of socialist policies.
This will not end well for Maduro, who is perhaps only months away from hanging on a lamppost when the starving masses finally rise up. The implications for the U.S. should be obvious, even to the far left which has taken over the Democrat party and who are now clamoring for a $15 minimum wage.
Milton Friedman once said that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara, in five years there would be a shortage of sand, and Venezuela is well on the way to demonstrating his prescience.
Jim Senner, New Bern