by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Venezuelans continue to fight for survival, as the nation’s socialist experiment has all but collapsed. Looting is commonplace. Hunger is rampant, with Venezuelans of every economic class eating out of garbage cans for sustenance. And a medical system that is so starved of supplies, like soap and gloves, that newborns are reportedly being put in cardboard boxes in maternity wards. That’s coupled with the spikes in infant deaths that began when the country started to falter. The energy shortages haven’t helped either. The rapid inflation has rendered the nation’s currency worthless, there’s no real domestic food production, and all of this has led to empty shelves at supermarkets.
The long lines have been a source of ire for the socialist government led by President Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s successor, who says that his nation’s economic woes are brought on by outside sources. He’s banned lines outside of bakeries and supermarkets. Those who are willing to sleep outside of supermarkets to beat the rush are arrested and detained. As The Washington Post reported, these people are given sentences like community service and cleaning the streets, but they’re not defined punishments in Venezuelan law. Moreover, there’s no clear definition as to what constitutes hoarding or transactions on the black market. It’s the Maduro government’s attempt to find a scapegoat. So far, almost 10,000 people have been scooped up by “Dracula’s bus,” which might as well be the nickname for the food police. …