Until recently, one of the few things partisans of Venezuela’s socialist “experiment” could point to as proof of success was its abundant gas and oil production. Having nationalized its oil and gas industry under the late president Hugo Chavez, Venezuelans not only enjoyed ridiculously low gas prices, but could also boast of this success as a badge of honor.
That is until now. According to various reports, things are getting so bad in the socialist South American country that Venezuela is now being forced to import crude oil from the United States — a country the Venezuelan government has been attacking as imperialistic and nefarious. So much for the Bolivarian Revolution.
The irony is not lost on political observers like Tim Worstoll, a contributor to Forbes, who writes:
“Yep–seriously, the country floating on the world’s largest pool of oil is having to import the stuff. And the reason is entirely simple–200 [percent] proof idiot economic policy. No, it’s not the imperialists sabotaging the Bolivarian revolution, it’s not the fall in oil prices, not the CIA and not the opposition. It’s simply crass ignorance of how to run an economy.”
Worstoll is not alone in this assessment. After years of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and derelict public policies, most foreign policy analysts are convinced that the socialist government is to blame. And despite blaming everyone and everything for the country’s deterioration except themselves, even their most faithful supporters are growing weary and demanding change.
“It’s not the imperialists sabotaging the Bolivarian revolution, it’s not the fall in oil prices, not the CIA and not the opposition. It’s simply crass ignorance of how to run an economy”
News that Venezuela is now importing refined oil from the United States is yet another blow to the ego and pride to the once prosperous South American country.
Unfortunately, those clamoring for a change will need to overcome an increasingly authoritarian and vindictive government that is determined to hold on to power no matter the cost. Despite collecting the necessary signatures to force a recall, the socialist government is challenging the opposition at every turn delaying the process. By stalling, President Nicolás Maduro and his socialist government are hoping to push back the recall until next year, when the constitution would allow Maduro’s vice president to assume power for the remainder of his term.
Hugo Chavez promised to end poverty through generous government programs while redistributing the wealth generated by their abundant oil and energy supplies. Today, this dream has turned into a nightmare.
As Worstoll observes: “Socialism, so bad an economic system it’s making the place sitting on $12 trillion in oil poor. You really wouldn’t wish it upon your worst enemy, would you?”
Israel Ortega is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter:@IzzyOrtega.