The ongoing failure of socialism in Venezuela is one of those continuing stories that always threaten to turn post-worthy. This week’s Christmas season hook: the government’s Grinch-like seizure of toys:
Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)Venezuelan officials have confiscated nearly 4 million toys from a toy distributor, accusing the company of planning to sell them at inflated prices during the Christmas season.
On Saturday, the government initially said it had confiscated 4.8 million toys. It revised the figure Sunday, putting it at 3.821 million.
Critics say the consumer protection agency, which targeted the toy warehouse this week, has become “the Grinch that stole Christmas” because many families won’t be able to buy the confiscated toys for the holiday.
Agency head William Contreras disputed that, saying executives at toy distributor Kreisel-Venezuela, the largest of its kind in the country, “don’t care about our children’s right to have a merry Christmas.”
Last month’s death of Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro shouldn’t eclipse the ongoing collapse of Venezuela, Latin America’s other failed socialist state:
Except for Nicaragua in the 1980s, Venezuela has more wholly adopted Castro’s economic and ideological model than any other Latin American nation. The late Hugo Chávez took his cues from Castro on everything from his fondness for army fatigues to his 10-hour speeches. Chávez also adopted the Castro model of seizing private property, suppressing the independent media, hounding political opponents and making cause with rogues in Damascus and Tehran.
For a while Venezuela escaped some of the inevitable consequences thanks to a flood of petrodollars. That’s over. Inflation is forecast to reach 1,640% next year. Caracas is the world’s most violent city. Hospitals have run out of basic medicines, including antibiotics, leading to skyrocketing infant mortality. There are chronic and severe shortages of electricity, food and water, as well as ordinary consumer goods like diapers or beer. Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s handpicked successor, has put his leading political opponents in jail.
And there’s hunger. An estimated 120,000 Venezuelans flooded into neighboring Colombia to buy food when Mr. Maduro briefly opened the border in July. Desperate Venezuelans are trekking through the Amazon hinterlands to make it to Brazil. And, like Cubans, they are taking to boats, risking their lives to make it to the nearby Dutch colony of Curaçao. Where there’s socialism there are boat people.
Zero Hedge has been keeping track of the twists and turns of Venezuela’s ongoing hyperinflation:
As long as the government keeps failed socialist policies and printing money, the economic nightmare plaguing the people of Venezuela will continue.