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Chávez continues to screw Venezuela into the ground 2010-Jan-08 at 23:55 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Chávez Devalues Currency Amid Oil Fall, by Simon Romero, 08-Jan-2010

“This announcement does not transmit confidence in economic stability,” said Orlando Ochoa, an independent economist here. “There is still no program in place to control inflation.”

But other subsidies, including a policy that keeps gasoline priced at less than 10 cents a gallon, drain resources. And private businesses here, fearful of abrupt nationalizations and expropriation threats by Mr. Chávez, are hesitant to increase investments, denying the economy a source of vitality at a time of stagnation and high inflation.

Venezuela is a train-wreck in slow motion.  It does provide an interesting economic case for intervention.  Now that he’s gotten himself elected as leader-for-life (although he claims there are free elections), I wonder if and when the world will begin to look at what he’s done and decide that it’s best for the stability of all of South America that he goes away.  He’s already removed almost all opposition media, and imposed new ways of appointing politicians so he controls them.  Will it take until he declares himself supreme leader and suspends all civil rights?  Will it take until he declares martial law?  Will he have to go to war with Colombia before it happens?  Will it take mass starvation due to his inept policies?  Or will we all just watch as millions of people suffer under one of the most repressive regimes in the world over the next ten to twenty years?

The longer he’s around, the more difficult the job will be to get Venezuela reconnected to globalization.  The infrastructure there is already crumbling, the stores already have shortages of everything.  The only thing they have that connects them with the world is oil… just like the Middle Eastern nations that we already know are in desperate need of reform.

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