How is socialism working out for Venezuela?

Socialism is touted as the answer to many of the world’s problems, ironically by socialists who live in capitalist countries.

But what is happening in real socialist countries…like Venezuela?

Despair and violence is taking over Venezuela. The economic crisis sweeping the nation means people have to withstand widespread shortages of staple products, medicine, and food.

So when the Maduro administration began rationing electricity this week, leaving entire cities in the dark for up to 4 hours every day, discontent gave way to social unrest.

On April 26, people took to the streets in three Venezuelan states, looting stores to find food.

Maracaibo, in the western state of Zulia, is the epicenter of thefts: on Tuesday alone, Venezuelans raided pharmacies, shopping malls, supermarkets, and even trucks with food in seven different areas of the city.

Although at least nine people were arrested, and 2,000 security officers were deployed in the state, Zulia’s Secretary of Government Giovanny Villalobos asked citizens not to leave their homes. “There are violent people out there that can harm you,” he warned.   

In Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, citizens reported looting in at least three areas of the city. Twitter users reported that thefts occurred throughout the night in the industrial zone of La California, Campo Rico, and Buena Vista.

They assured that several locals were robbed and that there were people on the street shouting “we are hungry!”

The same happened in Carabobo, a state in central Venezuela. Through Twitter, a journalist from Valencia reported the looting of a deli.

The crime took place on Tuesday evening amid a wave of protests against prolonged power rationing and outages in multiple parts of the country.

So, not so well it seems. But we are told that socialism better controls the levers of production. Again how is that working in Venezuela?

Supermarkets employees from Valencia told the PanAm Post that besides no longer receiving the same amount of food as before, they must deal with angry Venezuelans who come to the stores only to find out there’s little to buy.

Purchases in supermarkets are rationed through a fingerprint system that does not allow Venezuelans to acquire the same regulated food for two weeks.

Due to the country’s mangled economy, millions must stand in long lines for hours just to purchase basic products, which many resell  for extra income as the country’s minimum wage is far from enough to cover a family’s needs.

On Wednesday, the Venezuelan Chamber of Food (Cavidea) said in a statement that most companies only have 15 days worth of stocked food.

According to the union, the production of food will continue to dwindle because raw materials as well as local and foreign inputs are depleted.

In the statement, Cavidea reported that they are 300 days overdue on payments to suppliers and it’s been 200 days since the national  government last authorized the purchase of dollars under the foreign currency control system.

Yeah, socialism sounds just peachy.




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  • STAG

    Why is it socialism always results in rationing? It is against human nature itself. A subsistence farmer given the opportunity will grow just a little more if possible to get even a tiny bit a head. But if there is no advantage in getting a head or the State won’t allow you to (aspirational dog!) Then the bare minimum becomes the standard and very quickly you run out of everything.

    Socialism is the poisoning of the human spirit.

    • shykiwibloke

      Socialism suits the lazy and the envious just fine. They just have to convince sufficient numbers of gullible to follow the piper.

  • shykiwibloke

    Remember that the measure of poverty is tied to the average, so the Venezuela government is quite right to regard 50% of these starving individuals as ‘wealthy’. Could be fun to have a reverse look at some other socialistic measurements

  • Bob Dazzler

    Just the sort of stuff the zombies in the Greens party would lead us into.

  • Andrewj

    Venezuela was encouraged to build the El Guri by the world bank and the Inter-American Development Bank . When the growth failed to materialise due to over optimistic projections the world bank moved in with penalty interest rates and destroyed the place. El Guri project bonds were sold at .30c on the dollar with 5 years of interest coupons attached for free.
    Venezuela was raped by western corporations, left a hollowed out shell. Elite oil barons ruled the place from their palatial Florida mansions while poverty stalked the nation. Socialism was the only tool they had left to try and take their country back.

    • Brian Dingwall

      Deng Xiaoping, in the face of opposition from communist ideologues tried instead: 1 establishing a competitive market place, 2. opening up, 3. modernisation, and 4 allowing the unemployed to start their own buinesses. That prescription seemed to work OK for China.

      • Andrewj

        China was closed to western corporations, in fact China borrowed their technology and refused to give them ownership in the country.

        • Brian Dingwall

          Buying, not borrowing, steel making technology from Japan nearly bankrupted the impoverished China of 1980. In fact they defaulted for a time on their debt to Japan and postponed delivery of much of the technology until they could afford it.
          Whatever, it was not socialism that created the greatest elevation from poverty of the greatest number of people in the shortest time in the history of man….it was freedom to create businesses, restructuring of the SOE’s, competition, and restoration of education. They call it socialism with Chinese characteristics….Coase calls it capitalism…in truth it is in between, capitalism except in sensitive industries, banking, communications, energy, some foodstuffs, and of course military. Deng, when challenged about introducing capitalism made his famous colour of the cat comment, and proclaimed “it is glorious to be rich”….

          It is the entrepreneurs (20 million odd kids rusticated during the cultural revolution, then brought back to cities where there were no jobs) of the 80’s and their sucessors that are now migrating, bringing their wealth, bright kids, and innovative spirit to many countries, including ours. It wasn’t easy, most struggled like hell, but at a macrolevel, it worked.

          • Andrewj

            All done with lashings of unsustainable debt. Mind you Deng started out as a chef in France and some of that experience must have stuck to him.


          • Brian Dingwall

            His biographer at Harvard suggests he and Zhou En Lai were sent to Paris by the fledgling party to study Communism. The work he did there was to fund that study.

            Are we now agreeing that for Venezuela there could have been a better route to wealth for the people than the state being responsible for all factors of production? Hope so,

          • Andrewj

            It’s the ‘paradox of plenty’. Governments argue today over who can manage the country best any ideological debate has gone.
            Venezuela like many other countries in Sth America got the treatment from uncle sam protecting private interests just like it did in the banking crisis and like it did in to the banana industry in central america.
            So what’s a well read bloke like you doing, hanging out on a site like this?

  • Korau

    Venezuela has moved their clocks forward half an hour to assist with their ravaged economy, because nighttime use of lighting and air conditioning was especially draining for the power grid.

    They have also instituted a two day work week (not sure who this covers)
    Schools are closed on a Friday

    Maduro blames the situation on an “economic
    war” against the country by capitalists and has vowed to press on with
    the socialist “revolution” launched by his late predecessor Hugo Chavez
    in 1999. (it’s always somebody else’s fault)

    A recent Venebarometro poll indicated that more than two thirds of Venezuelans wanted Maduro to quit.

    Source :

    • Andrewj

      Hard to beat the elite capitalist corporations even when you have as much oil as Venezuela.
      Then there was Colombia but when the canal was needed they had to form a new country called Panama, ever wondered why?
      Try reading ” the profiteers, Bechtel and the men who built the world”.

  • Brian Dingwall

    And this is in spite of their advantage in being the country with the world’s largest proven reserves of oil… ain’t whatcha got…..

  • Rebecca

    Nobody attributed Venezuela’s prosperity to socialism when it was a successful petrostate with large oil revenues. Venezuela’s recent failures definitely can be attributed to isolationism and incompetent management of oil reserves under Chavez, but also to its US neighbour rising to become a petropower oil and gas producer thanks to fracking.

    While it’s easy enough to attribute the result to socialist vs capitalist rather than incompetence and fracking, in fact the US has some of the largest socialist policies in the world in healthcare and numerous other areas that would be familiar to kiwis. E.g. many of us chuckled when a picture of a snow plow did the rounds in wintery January captioned “Get ready for the dreaded Socialist snow plows.”

    IMHO Denmark’s reaction when Sanders called it a Socialist state, sums it up. Denmark declared that it is not a Socialist state, it is a market economy with socialist policies to ensure health and well-being. You look at any successful modern state iMHO and that’s what you’ll find. The task for Venezuela is to promote market reforms without completely abandoning socialist ideology.

    • Andrewj

      Venezuela was a vital source of oil for the west, due to it’s proximity to the USA and the secure route across the Atlantic, far to important to leave to chance.
      So Venezuela was owned by the West via the banking cartels.

    • CheesyEarWax

      You are right, a bit of socialism doesn’t do any harm. But putting socialist ideologies at the forefront of any policies, economic or social, and they are bound to fail – devastatingly. The only way to make socialist ideologies work is with a policed state like North Korea, China, Cuba etc..

      • Andrewj

        Well I am struggling with socialism in NZ, my rates are now $80 a hectare, our council depreciates it’s assets, uses that as an excuse to up rates, blows the money and then has to borrow to fund capital expenditure, all with the approval of the government.

        • Rebecca

          Not sure which council you’re blessed with, but a lot of councils are saddled with deferred maintenance/unfunded deficits caused by the internationally familiar conservative/capitalist mantra of minimizing today’s taxes/rates and let the future take care of itself. Unfortunately that’s just as destructive as Socialist nirvanaspeak and many kiwis now are facing the price.

      • Rebecca

        Or Bolivia that’s never mentioned when Venezuela is held up as a failed Socialist state. Bolivia also threw off IMF strictures to institute socialist policies that worked, with its strong economy regularly receiving praise from the World Bank and the IMF whose advice it ignored.

  • Mikex

    Socialists and lefty’s believe in equal opportunities, unfortunately they also believe in equal outcomes. Darn thing is though that we all have different abilities.

    To achieve equal outcomes they then have to practice contortion-ism. Give the lazy,dullards a leg up while keeping the industrious, talented held down with a foot on the throat. The final outcome is never a happy one.

  • rua kenana

    Yeah. The record of socialism had been entirely disastrous. Everywhere.
    Although for some reason there’s still plenty of people in NZ, even dare one say as close at hand as this blog, who frequently clamour for big government to butt in and sort out whatever it is they don’t like, such as actually requiring developers to pay market price for whatever land they claim they need.
    There’s an old saying about being careful what you ask for because you just might get it, including of its downstream consequences, as Venezuela, Cuba and other socialist paradises have found to their cost.

    • Andrewj

      How many examples of government supported corporate raiding do you want me to give you? Remember even Gaddafi was trained at Sandhurst in the UK, because it suited UK and USA corporate interests and government outcomes.
      Western Governments butt in all the time an example would be Ecan.

  • David Moore

    The minimum wage in Venezuela is now $13.50, viva la revolucion!

    (Shame it’s per month eh?)

    • Andrewj

      So who has the money in a country that produces 2,394,020 barrels of oil per day and is the worlds 8th biggest exporter?

      • David Moore

        The same person who has all the toilet paper.

  • BR

    The socialist believes that without government intervention, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer, until eventually there will be a small elite of very wealthy moguls with the remainder of the population starving and destitute

    There is one thing wrong with this idea: A broke and destitute population is bad for business.

    Businesses cannot sell high priced good to a starving population. Prices would fall and wages would rise until an equilibrium is reached. Shortages and high prices are caused by many things, but a free market economy is not one of them.

    Socialism leads to an elite minority of filthy rich, i.e. the government. You can be damn sure that the politicians in Venezuela are not scratching around on the ground looking for beetles to eat. They leave that to the peasants.


  • OneTrack

    Send Meteria over – she will tell the Comrades how to do right.

  • Cadae

    It’s simple. Socialism is theft and theft is a drain on productivity. If your rate of theft exceeds your productivity, it becomes unsustainable and spirals down to inevitable failure. If your rate of theft is less than your productivity, then it is sustainable, but the producers work harder for less.