Maduro APNow is the perfect time to move to Venezuela’s socialist paradise: It has ration cards for food, no toilet paper, funeral homes forced into “recycling” coffins for wakes, and grocery stores are run by the military. For the young socialist, what could be better than massive caloric restriction, stained underwear, and the exercise that comes from desperately searching for life’s basic necessities?

Bloomberg reported on Friday:

Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening shortages led the government to put Venezuela’s food distribution under military protection.

Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.

“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.” …

“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”

While it may have been incredibly inappropriate, Bloomberg’s reporters should have considered asking Ms. Elsa if she tried calling actors Sean Penn or Danny Glover for detergent and chicken. Hollywood’s socialist cheerleaders are noticeably absent when it comes to commenting on the average Venezuelan who is forced to wear dirty clothes, doesn’t have toilet paper, and can’t find diapers for her baby.

Mr. Penn did manage to say a few words about Venezuela’s unrest and economic crisis in May, 2014 during an interview with Al Jazeera:

“Are they demonstrating in Venezuela over oppression, or are they demonstrating because they’re on economic hard times? It’s the latter,” Penn insisted. “We’re all on economic hard times.”

“Hard times” for Sean Penn is finding out that the Whole Foods down the street is out of blueberry cheesecake wontons or having to deal with rumors that the organic grass-fed beef cattle he enjoys so much might not be consuming adequate proportions of legumes and range forage. Hard times for Venezuelans means, “At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”

Although much of the media prefer to give Venezuela’s predictable socialist implosion scant coverage, Americans would be wise to search out the details. There are 50 states filled with people who share Nicolas Maduro’s politics and economic ignorance. While it may seem like America will forever be immune to toilet paper shortages, that is most certainly not the case. Bad economic policies can bring a nation to its knees in no time, and it would be a shame of epic proportions if America one day found itself deploying U.S. Army Ranger battalions to guard bread lines.

Exit question: How many Venezuelans these days do you think are singing David Lee Roth’s “Just Like Paradise”?

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

4 comments

    1. Venezuela’s problems were ongoing well before the drop in oil prices, so no. It has a socialism problem that exacerbates its oil problems; it does not have an oil problem that causes shortages of coffins, toilet paper, diapers, bread, eggs, and milk.

      Also, Saudi Arabia is not our “pal.” (It’s strange that you routinely try to get me to defend Saudi Arabia when I have no love for its rulers and I’m a strong advocate of tapping U.S. resources for energy independence).

    2. Weren’t you writing on this issue when oil prices were quite high? Sounds like they mismanaged their economy when money was coming in.

    3. Oh yes, Patrick. 🙂 There was the time when Maduro’s thugs began conducting toilet paper raids:

      June 14, 2013: Venezuela: You can’t have a revolution without a few skidmarks; ignore the toilet paper shortage!

      I’ve been meaning to write on this subject for quite some time, but I’ve held off because I feel bad doing so. The free market allows me to buy Quilted Northern as well as Charmin. My bottom is so pampered living in the United States that I don’t want to kick a socialist while he’s down. But … what the heck. At some point we all must answer for our own stupidity; life is full of learning moments if we’re willing to listen.

      And then there was the time that Maduro sent in troops to make the Venezuelan version of Best Buy sell electronics at whatever arbitrary price he wanted:

      November 14, 2013: Venezuela’s Maduro tries to stop spinning down the toilet drain by spinning faster

      “This is for the good of the nation,” Mr. Maduro said in the report. “Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses. … Let nothing remain in stock!”

      Like I said, Venezuela’s big problem is a socialist problem — not an oil problem.

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