Acting like Robert Mugabe on cocaine, Venezuela’s dictator went on a shopping spree over the weekend, confiscating one farm and industry after another.
[...]One taking stood out, however — a 370-acre ranch in Yaracuy state that grows oranges and coffee and raises cattle with 38 shareholding farm workers. The scenic property on an otherwise desolate stretch of highway is owned by Diego Arria, Venezuela’s former president of the U.N. Security Council. It’s been in his family since 1852.
Arria had spoken out against Chavez, so Chavez got personal. “If he wants to farm now, he will have to topple Chavez, because this now belongs to the revolution,” El Presidente pronounced.
Arria told IBD he’s been pressured for two years with acts of vandalism and the kidnapping of farmhands. A month ago, Chavista Ministry of Culture operatives approached him in Norway, demanding that he quit criticizing the Chavez regime. If he didn’t “play ball,” he’d lose the ranch, Arria was warned. “But I never negotiate with thugs,” he said.
Chavez’s red-shirts finally acted over the weekend, opening the farm to “the masses” in a show of class warfare. Chavista leaders from the National Institute of Lands headed first to Arria’s living quarters, rolling over his bed, pawing through his wife’s clothing and desecrating a chapel dedicated to the Arrias’ late daughter.
For their big photo spectacular, they hauled in 300 or 400 children to swim in Arria’s swimming pool, ride the ranch horses and tour the main house — encouraging the kids to take “souvenirs.” Chavez said it was all proof he was “socializing happiness.”
Business Week explains what happens when a socialist tyrant like Chavez destroys the right to private property and confiscate profits from business owners.
Fitch Ratings cut its Venezuelan economic growth forecast by more than half on concern this month’s currency devaluation will spur inflation and erode consumers’ purchasing power, said analyst Erich Arispe. Venezuela’s gross domestic product will expand about 0.7 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of about 2 percent, Arispe, who covers the Andean region for Fitch, said in a telephone interview from New York today. He estimates the South American nation’s economy shrank 2.5 percent in 2009.
[...]President Hugo Chavez has threatened to seize businesses that raise prices following the devaluation of the official exchange rate of as much as 50 percent. Trade Minister Eduardo Saman said yesterday the government began to expropriate six Hipermercado Exito stores after Chavez said the French-Colombian owned retailer broke the law by raising prices.
[...]Morgan Stanley said yesterday that Venezuela’s inflation rate will surge to 45 percent this year from 27 percent last year, which was the highest rate among 78 economies tracked by Bloomberg. A 45 percent increase in consumer prices would be the biggest since 1996.
[...]The devaluation comes at a time when Venezuela began rolling blackouts this month for two to four hours a day to save power as the worst drought in 50 years threatens to shut the nation’s biggest hydroelectric plant and collapse the power grid.
If you attack business like this, you lose jobs. Entrepreneurs shut their businesses down when they have to take losses because government inflates the currency. It’s madness. It’s like asking someone to make gold out of straw, and whipping them when they can’t. But that’s socialism. And Chavez isn’t any different from any other socialist. The whole system doesn’t work. And this is what you can see today in places like North Korea of Zimbabwe. Or Greece and Venezuela, if you like.
I have to post this picture of Obama and Chavez. You know the drill.
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