Such news would otherwise be laughable, however this is reality in Caracas, Venezuela. Under the direction of former bus driver and union leader President Nicholas Maduro, the socialist government is threatening to take over bakeries in Caracas in a “bread war” that is engulfing the nanny state.
Soldiers and inspectors have been sent to over 700 bakeries in the city of Caracas attempting to enforce a recent ruling that 90 percent of available wheat must be used to bake bread rather than pastries and cakes. This diktat comes from Maduro himself, who less than eight months earlier ordered a $65,000 200-pound birthday cake honoring the deceased leader Hugo Chávez.1
Socialists claim to represent the people and treat them all equally; it’s just that some are more equal than others.
This latest decree was intended to grapple with the massive shortages, which are causing long lines for basic staples that are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
Maduro’s suffocating regulations have been consistent with those of the late Hugo Chávez, his mentor. In 2010, Chávez embarked on a rampage of expropriation and redistribution of businesses and farmland. From his booty, he offered poor Venezuelans subsidized pricing for everything from appliances to new homes.
It was all part of his campaign promises to implement “revolutionary socialism” and dismantle the “bourgeois state.” These actions did little to encourage business, let alone attract foreign investment, which caused Venezuela to spiral into an economic freefall.
The socialist paradise started to unravel when Chávez began to impose his revolutionary socialism by attacking the economic engine that sustained his country. Food shortages, hyperinflation and declining agrarian production assailed the socialist paradise even while Brent crude was still at $100 per barrel. With current prices at less than half that today, there is little hope that Venezuela will see the luxury of high oil revenue any time soon.
Oil exports account for almost sixty percent of Venezuela’s revenue, but the low prices are actually one of the least of their problems. President Maduro has announced a sweeping crackdown under a new emergency decree, ordering authorities to seize factories “paralyzed by the bourgeoisie” and to arrest their owners.
This in turn has sparked renewed fear that the socialist government will confiscate more companies in the manner of modern-day Robin Hood. However, ill-gotten gains are tainted with the sin that acquired them.
Stolen companies and farmlands are usually taken in good working order and given to the poor to run. The poor, who lack the skills and education to run them, end up bankrupting the majority of these enterprises, which only aggravates Venezuela’s economic plight.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business index, Venezuela is one of the most unfriendly places to do business, ranking 187th out of 190. Could they have expected anything different from revolutionary socialism?
To help solve the projected inflation of 1,600 percent for 2017, the government plans to take over more companies and give them to the poor together with printing more currency.
There could not be a more perfect recipe for destroying a country.
Thus, as Venezuela continues to crumble under the iron fist of socialist tyranny, Maduro’s solution is to arrest bakers for making brownies?