Originally published August 5 2015
Mass starvation expected in Venezuela after socialist government nationalizes food distribution system
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In a policy move that is sure to worsen Venezuela's economic condition and impose more suffering on the country's population, President Nicolas Maduro pledged recently to nationalize food distribution amid record shortages of the most basic goods, skyrocketing inflation and a deepening financial crisis.
Maduro – a longtime bus driver and left-wing union activist who never graduated from high school – said during a rally in early May, on International Workers Day, that he would carry out his measure "in the coming days and weeks." He claimed the move was necessary to ensure fair delivery of goods to all the people.
But various estimates, according to Agence France Presse, indicate the central government already controls about half of the South American nation's food distribution, which has not ended record shortages in shops and markets.
The country is in the throes of a major recession, with the inflation rate at about 68.5 percent per annum earlier this summer. There have been persistent shortages of goods for months.
In addition, the country relies heavily on oil income, and oil prices have slumped since last year.
On just about any day of the week, Venezuelans have to wait hours just to get a little subsidized milk, cooking oil or flour.
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Doubling down on failed policy
And though Maduro's government is already strapped for cash due to the global oil glut and price decline, the socialist leader decided as well to boost public wages by 30 percent in May.
Food isn't the only commodity that is becoming increasingly rare in Venezuela; so is medicine.
In April, the Global Post reported that Venezuela's health minister introduced a new government-managed system that requires all patients to register with fingerprints at pharmacies. And even then, they will only be permitted to buy a limited amount of medicines.
The system, called SIAMED – a Spanish acronym for the Integral System for Access to Medicines – was supposed to solve the problem of widespread medicine shortages that have left many citizens unable to treat ailments from hemorrhoids to cancer.
The Global Post further reported:
The result of the scarcities has been tragic, with allegations of patients dying and doctors even forced to carry out needless mastectomies because they can't access other means to treat breast cancer.
As in the past, the Maduro government is blaming the shortage of medications on "hoarding" as well as speculation. As such, Health Minister Henry Ventura tweeted, "With #SIAMED, we want to eliminate "hoarding" so that everyone has the right to medicine. Sign up!!!" (Does this left-wing propaganda sound familiar?)
Scores of Venezuelans are seeing through the Maduro government's smoke and mirrors.
More socialism won't solve problems created by socialism
Freddy Ceballos, head of the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation, blamed medicine shortages on the "Bolivarian" socialist government that is running national production – by private companies – into the ground, while at the same time lacking foreign currency to import pharmaceuticals, the Global Post reported.
"This (SIAMED) won't solve the problem because it doesn't get at the cause, which is the lack of supply of medicines," he told the web site.
"The government won't talk about it, the fact that this appears to be rationing, but everyone else is. We will see how it operates in practice," he added.
Venezuela's stunning decline under Maduro and, before him, Hugo Chavez, was entirely predictable.
The tight control of currency combined with a shortage of American dollars has had a devastating effect on Venezuelans; many have found it tough to find imported staples and basic products like toilet paper, cooking oil, flour and milk. And price controls, the hallmark of a Marxist economy, aren't helping, because, as is always the case, the government is mandating prices for goods that are less than what those same goods cost to make; without a profit, companies cannot justify manufacturing them.
And yet, socialist politicians like Maduro double-down on the very policies that have crippled the national economy.
UPDATE: According to this August 3 Bloomberg News report, Venezuela's inflation rate has soared to more than 80 percent per annum, "the highest in the world."
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