It’s amazing the socialist model put in place by deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has survived as long as it has. A system that specifically punishes free enterprise, blocks product importation, imposes strict price controls and restricts hard currency transactions is a formula for disaster. The only reason Venezuela’s command economy didn’t implode long ago, I suspect, is because oil prices remained relatively stable and high from the time Chavez, a former coup leader, won office in 1998 to the time he died in 2013.
Even so, it was a matter of time before shortages of basic goods would begin to appear. Before Chavez died, consumers already were having trouble getting important goods like toilet paper. Today, under the thunderously incompetent leadership of President Nicolas Maduro, shortages are rampant. A 36-pack of Trojan condoms reportedly sells for $755. Now, high-priced condoms do not a counterrevolution make. But at some point, people are going to reach their limit.
Long lines at supermarkets and pharmacies, where shelves are empty and shoppers are getting desperate, are reminiscent of the lines that used to appear in Moscow under communist rule…
Inflation according to IMF data. The red line is Venezuela, the blue line is the world average. Chart created by Google (see it here)