Is Chavez doomed?

Jackson Diehl – Life After Chávez –

Jackson Diehl seems to think so.
[quote]The trouble began in early December when Venezuelan voters rejected a new constitution that would have turned Venezuela into a socialist state along the lines of the Cuban model and made Chávez its de facto president-for-life. The self-styled “Bolivarian revolutionary” accepted the democratic verdict, according to multiple Venezuelan accounts, only after the country’s military commanders told him they would not support him if the announcement of a fraudulent result touched off a popular rebellion.

Since then an increasingly erratic Chávez has dug his political hole steadily deeper. He shocked both Venezuelans and leftists across Latin America by publicly embracing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a onetime Marxist guerrilla group that long ago morphed into a syndicate of kidnappers and drug traffickers. Last week hundreds of thousands of people from Bogota and Caracas to Madrid and Tokyo responded with anti-FARC marches. Chávez then struck a bellicose posture toward Colombia’s democratic government — which only served to generate broad international sympathy for Colombia’s conservative president, Álvaro Uribe, while once again provoking jitters among Venezuelan military commanders. [/quote]

So what about Chavez’s vaunted economic reforms which bear a remarkable resemblance to the profligate spending of our own government?
[quote]Venezuelans not worrying about war are increasingly obsessed with the remarkable result of Chávez’s disastrous economic policies: worsening shortages of consumer goods and soaring prices, a combination previously seen only in such benighted places as Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Almost every day, newspapers report another addition to the items missing from store shelves: from milk, bread, sugar, chicken, eggs, rice and cheese to auto parts and over-the-counter drugs. A black market thrives; food is smuggled across the border to Colombia, while cocaine in increasing quantities is trafficked back to Venezuela. Chávez recently raised the price of milk 37 percent, contributing to an inflation rate that hit 22 percent in 2007 and 3.4 percent in just the month of January. But he also threatened to seize private banks, farms, supermarkets and food distributors, thereby ensuring that the investments needed to end the shortages will not take place.[/quote]

Wow, socialism has got so much going for it. Here’s a challenge can anyone name even one successful socialist state?

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