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October 25, 2014
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Columns

Corruption fuels Venezuelan riots

As the world is captivated by the events unfolding in Ukraine, it seems mainstream news has forgotten about another nation, Venezuela. Students in the country are demanding free speech and have led the opposition against the regime. Other protesters seek an end to the excessive unlawful force by Venezuelan security forces. The Venezuelan regime, led by President Nicolas Maduro, claims the U.S. and oppositional forces are trying to destabilize his regime.

However, the troubles of Venezuela are rooted in Chavez’s socialist agenda. Chavez nationalized many industries, from fertilizer to oil. His idea was to stop the exploitation of his people by the greedy western capitalists through nationalization.

With all of the country’s resources supposedly under control of the people, including the world’s largest oil reserve, wouldn’t the state ensure a particular industry would benefit the people? But so far, the situation has only proved the contrary. The inefficiency of any government-run industry or service, plus a bloated bureaucracy that employs nearly 20 percent of the labor force and spends more money than it takes in, has turned the government into a wasteful and corrupt parasite on the nation.

Luckily, Chavez’s regime has massive social programs to help the poor. But how is it financing these programs, considering the regime spends more money than it takes in? The regime funds these programs by printing more money, and inflation is skyrocketing because of it. The Bolivar Fuerte is currently experiencing an inflation rate of 56 percent, among the highest in the world. One American dollar is worth 87 Bolivares Fuertes.

And this inflation rate does not take into account the nation’s illicit market, which developed with the shortages of goods. Considering how few buyable goods there are on the market, and the massive depreciation of Bolivares Fuertes, the Troubled Currencies Project estimates the real inflation rate is around 303 percent, exacerbating poverty.

This inflation and the huge illicit market lend themselves to crime. Ever since Chavez took office in 1999, the crime rate has steadily increased. According to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, around 25,000 people were killed in 2013; the highest murder rate in South America.

It seems that many refuse to believe that the regime’s system simply does not work. Judging from the evidence, is it hard to believe that the people would want to change the current condition of their nation?