Thursday, September 06, 2007

Smell the Sulphur

Poor Hugo Chavez, the favorite socialist of the far left and Hollyweird. He thought he smelled sulphur at the UN, but it was really his economy going up in smoke.

The Venezuelan economy, under the direction of President Hugo Chávez, is starting to unravel in the currency market.

While Venezuela earns record proceeds from oil exports, consumers face shortages of meat, flour and cooking oil. Annual inflation has risen to 16 percent, the highest in Latin America, as Chávez tripled government spending in four years.

What? No more free heating oil for poor poor Americans?

This has been the worst-managed oil boom in Venezuela's history," said Ricardo Hausmann, a former government planning minister who now teaches economics at Harvard University. "A devaluation is a foregone conclusion. The only question is when."

He nationalized Venezuela's biggest private electric and telephone utilities and took majority stakes in oil projects owned by Exxon and ConocoPhillips. Foreign direct investment was a negative $881 million in the first half as foreign companies pulled out money.

Chávez terminated the broadcast license of the country's most-watched television network in May, sparking weeks of student protests. He has threatened to take over cement makers, hospitals, banks, supermarkets and butcher shops, saying they were not obeying price controls.

Back in 2005 Chavez bragged about his "free eye operations to people in all of the American continents, north and south."

The plan to provide free eye operations is part of the “Mission Miracle,” which is one of the many new social programs that Chavez government has instituted in the past two years in Venezuela. By the end of December, 150,000 Venezuelans will have received eye operations. These operations involved operations for cataracts, myopia, pigmentary retinosis, and many others.

Maybe these operations helped Venezuelans see that socialism never works.

via Grouchy Old Cripple