Venezuela’s tryst with socialism continues to make its citizens suffer under lack of electricity, food, and medical supplies. The government, which provides essential services, is only working two-day workweeks. Inflation has soared through the stratosphere, only to be accompanied by widespread hunger. People have resorted to looting. There are reports of dogs, cats, and pigeons being hunted for food, while others tear through garbage cans looking for whatever they can find to eat. Under-stocked supermarkets have become tragic spectacles, as Venezuelans rush to get whatever they can find once the doors open. As for medical supplies, they’re scarce—with hospitals lacking basic items, like gloves and soap. Access to medicine is also a nightmare, impacting 200,000 Venezuelans living with chronic illnesses. In one tragic case, an eight-year-old-boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma recently passed away since he couldn’t obtain the drugs he needed to survive.
The New York Times noted that, as the government slowly begins to shutdown, the crisis is beginning to kill off every aspect of socioeconomic life. Schools are now closed on Fridays to help with the energy shortage, and law and order has all but collapsed. Even the Venezuela’s like-minded allies concerning left wing economics have noted that current President Nicolas Maduro has pretty much lost his marbles:
The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.
Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.
This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory.
In recent weeks, the government has taken what may be one of the most desperate measures ever by a country to save electricity: A shutdown of many of its offices for all but two half-days each week.
But that is only the start of the country’s woes. Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.
Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.
“There’s been plenty of problems, but one thing I haven’t seen until now is protests simply to get food,” said David Smilde, a Caracas-based analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group, referring to the demonstrations last week.
Old allies like Brazil, whose leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, was removed this month pending an impeachment trial, are now openly criticizing Venezuela. José Mujica, the leftist former president of Uruguay last week called Mr. Maduro “crazy like a goat.”
As the sparring continues, Mariángel González, a 32-year-old mother of two, is most worried about the retreat of the government from daily life.
Venezuela’s public schools are now closed on Fridays, another effort to save electricity. So Ms. González was waiting in line with her elder child at an A.T.M., while her husband watched over the other one at home.
“Right now, my older girl should be at elementary school and the little one in kindergarten,” she said. “My husband and I have been inventing new routines.”
Ms. González, a freelance lawyer, lived a middle-class life until recently. But she says the government shutdown has left her without work and her family without food.
“The older girl, who understands what’s going on says, ‘What is there, Mom: bread, arepas or nothing?’” She said that on a recent night, the family ate a dinner of pasta and ketchup.
For Vanessa Arneta, who lives with seven relatives in an apartment on the outskirts of Caracas, it’s the disappearance of the city’s water that is causing the most pain. Water arrives just once a week, on Thursdays, to her neighborhood of San Antonio de los Altos.
That day, they quickly divide up the chores. A nephew gets into the shower while another one washes the dishes, Ms. Arneta says. One of her brothers washes up the bathroom, while someone else fills buckets with water for later.
But Ms. Arneta says the water is now a brownish color and is making her family sick. Many Venezuelans say they have gotten skin irritations from showering or from the inability to bathe and wash their sheets and towels.
The Agence-France Presse reported last week that 80 percent of Venezuelans say that basic things, like food and medicine, are in short supply—and 86 percent blamed the left wing government of President Maduro for their suffering.
Cliver Alcala, a then-cadet under Hugo Chavez who rose through the military ranks and is credited with being the “architect” of Venezuela’s military, bashed Maduro saying that his government has nothing to do with Chavez’s legacy—“it’s anarchy” (via BBC):
"When Comandante Chavez started the MBR-200, I was a 19-year-old cadet. Today, I'm 54."
While in power, there was little that Chavez valued more than loyalty. And as Alcala quickly climbed the military ladder, he strove to provide it through open demonstrations of unwavering support.
He is often credited with being the first to publicly declare the armed forces "Bolivarian" and "revolutionary".
But today he is excoriating about the direction the government of President Nicolas Maduro is taking and the role of the military in the current political and economic crisis gripping the country. Mr Maduro succeeded Chavez, who died of cancer three years ago.
"This isn't Chavismo," Gen Alcala says of the socialist leadership. "It's anarchy."
"Over the past three years, we have entered a maelstrom of anarchy in which a group of compatriots that once supported the revolution - both civilians and military - thought they could install an anarchic ideology in the country."
"And so they have."
He immediately begins to list problems, with corruption at every level of government, and accuses the military of standing idly by as Rome - or in this case Caracas - burns.
Well, corruption is a byproduct of authoritarian leftism. Not just in Bolivia, but other governments that aspire to the planned economy model. A model that force Bridgestone to abandon operations, Coca-Cola to stop production due to sugar shortages, and Lufthansa is set to suspend all flights to Venezuela because of the deteriorating situations in the country. In Venezuela, 21st Century Socialism has done nothing but relegate this country into nothing more than a burned out cinder.
The International Monetary Fund projects the Venezuelan economy to contact by eight percent his year, with a 500 percent surge in the inflation rate.
Viva La Revolución!