The government’s drafting people to work the fields. Protests and riots now choke the cities.
By The Editorial Board
The New York Post
Here’s socialism at its finest: Venezuela is now forced to import oil from the United States, the devil in the eyes of the regime.
Yes, the South American energy powerhouse is still pumping 2.4 million barrels a day on its own — but that’s a million barrels below the level before Hugo Chavez took over in 1999, and down 350,000 barrels from just last year.
Worse, production in key fields has reduced the state to buying 50,000 barrels a day of US light crude to blend with the domestic petroleum for a product fit for export.
Under Chavez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, the government nationalized key petro companies — then failed to invest in basic maintenance, instead spending the cash on buying popularity.
Now everything’s falling apart: not just the oil industry, but the whole economy. Most cash from current exports must go for debt payments — largely to “Communist” China, ironically — and to foreign firms that provide the expertise to keep anything running.
The opposition won control of the legislature in the last election, but Maduro’s hanging on with executive power, plus secret police borrowed from Cuba.
The end game is going to be extremely ugly. Food is in short supply and expensive. The government’s drafting people to work the fields. Protests and riots now choke the cities. Criminal gangs roam the countryside; hospitals are crumbling, with basic medicines scarce.
Say a prayer for the people of Venezuela.
Mr Maduro’s six-year term ends in January 2019. EPA
Government supporters hold a picture of the late president, Hugo Chavez, during a rival march in Caracas. Reuters