Latin America

Venezuela sinks into the abyss

I haven’t posted about the chavista regime in Venezuela recently, but that’s not because things there have got any better. I’ve just run out of ways to describe how abysmal the political and economic situation in that benighted country has become.

The collapse of oil prices and the failure to plan for that likelihood, combined with the utter incompetence and corruption of the regimes of Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, have resulted in near-apocalyptic shortages and misery for the vast majority of the population.

Continuing in the tradition of Chavez, Maduro robotically blames the US for all of Venezuela’s problems.

(Chavez himself wisely died in 2013, when things were starting to fall apart but before they got truly awful. You may have also noticed that the International Anti-Imperialist Left is no longer singing the praises of the Bolivarian Revolution as loudly as it used to. I’ll bet Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t even bothered to call his friend El Presidente since this touching exchange two years ago.)

The Caracas Chronicles blog has been tracking Venezuela’s collapse in gruesome detail.

Although the anti-Maduro opposition won a two-thirds majority in elections to the National Assembly in December, The Washington Post reports, “a constitutional tribunal stacked with party hacks has issued annulments of every act by the new assembly, including an amnesty for scores of political prisoners.”

Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez remains imprisoned on phony charges of inciting violence.

Venezuelans have collected enough signatures on a petition to call for a recall referendum on the Maduro government, although there is no guarantee the regime and its handpicked judges will actually allow it.

Meanwhile the desperation is such that soldiers in the relatively privileged military are stealing goats for food because they don’t have enough to eat in their barracks.