By Bob Adelmann
When Matt O’Brien updated his previous article on the slow-motion collapse of Venezuela on Monday for the Washington Post, he reviewed the symptoms achingly familiar to those following the events: the collapse of oil prices; the incompetence of the cronies running the state-owned oil company (former Marxist Hugo Chávez replaced the workers who knew what they were doing with political cronies who didn’t); the inflation of the currency followed as night follows day, with price controls to mask the resulting inflation; inflation, as measured by the black market’s pricing of the Venezuelan bolivar, causing the bolivar to lose more than 90 percent of its value in just two years; the empty supermarket shelves; the oppression by police of those standing in long lines to purchase whatever might be left in those stores; and on and on. As O’Brien lamented:
[Those economic policies have] left Venezuela’s supermarkets without enough food, its breweries without enough hops to make beer, and its factories without enough pulp to produce toilet paper.
And then he added: “It’s only going to get worse.”
Unfortunately, it already has. Starvation is leading to staggering rises in infant mortality, and prison riots are leading to cannibalism.