This week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez passed away at the age of 58 from a heart attack. The man, who was beloved and revered by society’s intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and liberals, left behind a legacy that led to misery for his constituents, even though many claim he lifted millions of Venezuelans out of poverty.
Performing a quick Google search, there will be a large number of articles depicting Chavez as a savior, a role model and a leader that benefitted the masses rather than a handful of corporations and the one percent. However, the people he intended to help were the ones that suffered the most.
For some reason or another, a growing number of individuals, who resent the wealthy, the well-to-do, the affluent and those who have a great deal of success, picture a fantastic utopia where everyone is wealthy, everyone has an expensive home and everyone is employed. As history has depicted as well as the present state of Venezuela, this is far from the truth.
Whether it’s ignorance, delusions or misinformation, the likes of Oliver Stone, Sean Penn and former President Jimmy Carter should live in these countries that do not embrace capitalism, free markets and even freedom.
Unfortunately, Chavez’s reign of terror will be viewed as a heroic endeavor that created unprecedented prosperity. Soon, akin to fellow socialists and communists such as Che Guevara, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung and Kim Jong-il, Chavez will be a folk hero and appear on t-shirts around the world, which will be sported by uninformed hipsters and teenagers everywhere.
Here are 20 sconsequences of Hugo Chavez’s economic policies that led to poverty
1. Production quotas on all forms of food, including rice, the country’s primary food item.
2. Price controls on anything from cooking oil to sugar to coffee. Rice, for instance, was only allowed to be sold for 2.15 bolivars ($0.34USD), but cost 4.41 bolivars ($0.70USD) to produce.
3. Both of these policies led to extreme food shortages. For most families, especially the lower- and middle-classes, grocery shopping was a hit or miss. They would be lucky enough to grab a roll of toilet paper.
4. Prior to Chavez’s death, the oil-rich Latin American nation struggled with the worst food shortage in four years.
5. Grocery stores have limited the number of oil, corn meal, butter and rice products customers can buy.
6. Each day in cities across the country, there are massive line-ups at grocery stores in the hopes of purchasing chicken, pasta, rice and the ever important corn meal.
7. Restaurants in Caracas have scaled back on their menu offerings because of the massive food shortages.
8. Another important culprit of the food shortages is the bureaucratic hurdles that companies face when they import or export goods.
9. The government doesn’t value private property rights, especially since it nationalized most private businesses, such as food companies, cement makers, farms, steel mills, beer makers and many, many others.
10. Similar to the situation in Zimbabwe, people who are unaware of how to farm or run a hotel are doing so. This means the quality of goods and services will be dramatically deteriorated.
11. If property owners do not give up their lands peacefully, the government uses violence, coercion and threats of death to attain the property.
12. When governments obtain the residence or private establishment, public officials and non-governmental organizations in support of Chavez gloat. The government took over one farm and Chavista leaders from the National Institute of Lands decimated a chapel, rummaged through ladies’ clothing and were encouraged to steal items in the name of “socializing happiness.”
13. The central bank of Venezuela severely devalued its bolivar. With high inflation levels and a weakened currency, it’s rather difficult for a consumer to purchase important goods for the household.
14. Venezuela faces a large black market, especially for U.S. dollars, which is worth three times more on the street. This occurred because there are fewer greenbacks in Venezuela’s reserves.
15. In order to get re-elected, Chavez spent an exorbitant amount of money from government coffers. This means, the Venezuelan government’s budget faces a massive deficit. The deficit, also due in part to various welfare programs, is between 15 and 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) – spending rose 46 percent in 2012.
16. Venezuela’s wealthy – the job creators, producers and important members of a country’s economy – and even the Jewish populations have fled to Florida over the past several years to avoid Chavez’s devastating socialism.
17. Since Chavez took office in 1999, the middle-class has vanished from Venezuela and fled the country too.
18. The Venezuelan healthcare industry has suffered over the years. The number of healthcare and specialist facilities is quite low. The country relies mostly on other countries for assistance in healthcare.
19. There are drug shortages in public pharmacies. According to statistical calculations and data produced by pharmaceutical companies, drugs shortage averages between 40 percent and 50 percent.
20. According to the CIA World Factbook, close to 30 percent of the nation’s population lives below the poverty line.
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