Led by Hugo Chávez, the country’s firebrand former president, the country embarked on a wave of expropriation and redistribution with the charismatic leader offering cut-price fridges, appliances and even new homes to poor Venezuelans.The principle of keeping everyone "equal but poor" could be said to be what animates much of our own Democratic party which has drifted far to the ideological left since the days of John F. Kennedy. It certainly seems to be the consequence of, if not the motivation behind, certain of Barack Obama's policies as well as the economic philosophy of Bernie Sanders.
Chávez wanted to create a socialist paradise, an ideology that has been reinforced by his successor [Nicolas] Maduro following his death in 2013.
But the oil price collapse a year later served as a wake-up call for a country that chose profligacy over prudence in the hope that a rainy day would never come.
Oil accounts for 98% of total exports and 59% of fiscal revenues, but Moya-Ocampos says the price slide isn’t the country’s only problem.
“Even under Chavez and $100 a barrel oil, debt was rapidly rising and there were already food shortages,” he says, “This is ultimately to do with an interventionist model that is not sustainable and has reached a tipping point.”
Maduro’s declaration of a fresh three month state of emergency has sparked fears that the government will try to seize control of more private companies.
Many Venezuelans have already left the country, including Francisco Flores. “Venezuela has taken good working companies, given them to the poor but not equipped them with the skills to run them so they go bankrupt,” he says. “That’s just a recipe for destroying a country.”
The NHS therapist, who now lives in London, says the regime is based on a principle of keeping everyone “equal but poor”.
“This way, the state becomes a nanny and everyone loses the power to do anything because they are so dependent on it.”
Venezuela is now suffering from the effects of a deep recession and hyperinflation as the government prints money to try to plug a gap between revenues and spending that is on course to hit 25% of gross domestic product (GDP) next year.
I wonder how many Venezuelans thought, when they voted for Chavez, that they were voting for "A Future to Believe In." It would be good to take the time to read the rest of the article. It could be a portent of our own future if we continue rambling down the path of big government socialism.