Why Did Chávismo Wreck the Venezuelan Economy?

You probably won’t be surprised that in William Finnegan’s lengthy history of Venezuela under Chávez and since in his New Yorker piece only two explanations for Venezuela’s economy having been left in tatters are presented. The Venezuelan government’s position:

I asked about the current food shortages and failing hospitals. “It is an economic war totally orchestrated by fascistic factions on the right,” Ruiz explained. “In every country, you have an oligarchy, a bourgeoisie, working to prevent other groups from gaining power. Our economic situation is imposed by outside powers, by transnational companies like Polar.”

The government constantly cites this “economic war,” secretly directed from Washington, to explain the gutted economy. Polar is Empresas Polar, Venezuela’s leading manufacturer of food and beer. Polar has been threatened with expropriation, and is harassed and vilified by the government as a treacherous bastion of capital, but it has become indispensable to feeding the country. Ruiz explained that Polar is responsible for shortages because it has reduced production. Polar’s management contends that it cannot import essential ingredients, because the government, which controls all foreign exchange, declines to provide the dollars necessary. These claims are false, according to Ruiz. “They have enough.”

or that it’s just too complicated for us mere mortals to understand…

Read more here…

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