Tag Archives: Nationalize

Venezuela orders soldiers armed with assault rifles to impose price controls

Venezuela: price controls don't work
Assault weapons vs Amazon and Ebay: socialism in practice

From the left-leaning USA Today.

Excerpt:

 Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country’s equivalent of Best Buy, a chain of electronics stores known as Daka, hoping for a bargain after the socialist government forced the company to charge customers “fair” prices.

President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military “occupation” of the company’s five stores as he continues the government’s crackdown on an “economic war” it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.

Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.

[…]Images circulating online as well as reports by local media appeared to show one Daka store in the country’s central city of Valencia being looted.

“I have no love for this government,” said Gabriela Campo, 33, a businesswoman, hoping to take home a cut-price television and fridge. “They’re doing this for nothing but political reasons, in time for December’s elections.”

Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.

Economists are expecting a devaluation soon after the election, likely leading to even higher inflation.

This will surely encourage more businesses to come to Venezuela to create jobs, and compete with other businesses in order to lower prices and increase quality for consumers. Oh wait, no it won’t. It’s just going to causes businesses to scale back, expand in other countries, and go out of business entirely – taking jobs with them.

The real face of communism
The real face of communism

Earlier, Venezuela nationalized some oil drilling plants, as well:

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, seized about $1 million worth of equipment from Superior Energy Services Inc. (SPN:US), the Houston-based company said.

PDVSA expropriated two hydraulic units that were idled after the Caracas-based company missed payments, Greg Rosenstein, head of corporate development, said by phone from New Orleans. The units operated in eastern Venezuela’s Anzoategui state, Associated Press reported Nov. 1.

[…]Under President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in March, Venezuela initiated a nationalization process, seizing assets from companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US) and ConocoPhillips. (COP:US)

Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB:US), the world’s largest oil-services company, said in March it would reduce work in Venezuela because of mounting overdue payments from PDVSA. Schlumberger subsequently reached an agreement and announced on May 24 that it would provide a $1 billion rolling credit for a joint venture in Venezuela.

That will encourage oil companies to come to Venezuela and pay royalties to the government, and give jobs to more Venezuelans. Oh wait, no it won’t. It’s just going to cause companies to scale back their investments, expand in other countries, stop hiring, lay off more people, and pull out of Venezuela. I’m sorry but this is standard leftist economic policy.

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Remember the last time that Venezuela seized privately-owned oil companies? They eventually had a nice explosion at the oil drilling facility, because the government doesn’t know how to run a business better than the people who created that business. You can see it today here, as Obama nationalizes the health care industry and tries to substitute his own web site. He thinks he knows how to create web sites. The man who has never run so much as a lemonade stand in his entire life, and is an authority on how to read a teleprompter and play golf. You do NOT put people like this is in charge of the economy.

Comparing Chile to Argentina and Venezuela
Comparing Chile to Argentina and Venezuela

The strange thing is that the economies of Chile embraced free market capitalism, free trade, private property, and the rule of law. Unlike Venezuela and Argentina, they are doing vastly better economically. Look at that chart, which I got from libertarian economist Dan Mitchell. You can’t refute that, because economics is real. No one can hide from the facts.

Related posts

An honest look at the many contributions of Hugo Chavez to Venezuela

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

From Reason magazine. (H/T Ian L.)

Excerpt: (links removed)

Hugo Chávez’ presidency has been a disaster for the Venezuelan people. Chávez’ “Socialism of the 21st Century” changed Venezuela from one of the most prosperous and politically free countries in Latin America to one of the least competitive and most repressive countries worldwide. Venezuelans who go to the polls today will ponder many of the President’s policy failures, including a long list of Chávez’nblunders in the last year alone.

Under Chávez’ rule, oil-rich Venezuela has become one of the least economically competitive countries in the world. In 2012, the country ranked 126 of 144 in a study by the World Economic Forum. According to the report, Venezuela now has some of the lowest scores worldwide in functioning of public institutions, trust in the justice system and domestic competition. It has some of the highest scores in terms of regulation, trade tariffs, and rules that deter foreign investment. The country has an inflation rate of 26 percent, and has also suffered several food shortages this year.

Venezuelan infrastructure has been falling apart under Chávez. On August 15th, the Cupira bridge near Caracas collapseddespite repeated warnings from engineers that it was in disrepair. Last month, poor drainage infrastructure led to nationwide flooding, resulting in over 400 families losing their homes and 1,500 people ending up in shelters. Chávez also mismanages Venezuela’s oil wealth. Since the government effectively took control of the national oil company in 2004, it has become much less efficient and production is 25 percent lower than when Chávez took office. Accidents are common—an offshore oil rig sank into the sea in 2010 and an oil refinery explosion in August killed at least 48 people. Despite sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, Venezuela nowimports and rations gasoline.

According to USA Today, Venezuela has the fourth highest murder rate in the world and is now the most violent South American country. Between the time Chávez took power in 1998 and 2012, kidnappings have risen from a few hundred annually to a record of 16,000 in 2011. Homicide rates have nearly tripled and suspect arrests have fallen by 61 percent. Only eight in every 100 murder investigations lead to an arrest. Murder of police officers has risen by 45 percent  in the last year alone. Violence is much worse for Venezuela’s inmates despite Chávez’ campaign promises of prison reform. A prison riot on August 24 left 26 people dead and 43 injured after inmates took over the compound and held it for four hours. Venezuelans are 20 times more likely to be killed in penitentiaries than outside of them. More than three hundred people have died and 572 have been injured in Venezuelan prisons this year alone.

Venezuelans have also witnessed alarming revocations of political liberties during Chávez’ presidency. On September 10th, Chávez decided to withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He regularly targets media who expose his failures. He recently arrested two journalists for writing a satirical article about his leadership. In addition, he demanded the names of voters who participated in the opposition’s primary election last February, just as he did to those who unsuccessfully voted to remove him from office in 2004. Chávez has banned foreign funding for civil society watch dogs, which will make electoral transparency in upcoming elections difficult.

UPDATE: Reformed Seth sent me this article from Human Rights Watch as well.

Excerpt:

Hugo Chávez’s presidency (1999-2013) was characterized by a dramatic concentration of power and open disregard for basic human rights guarantees.

After enacting a new constitution with ample human rights protections in 1999 – and surviving a short-lived coup d’état in 2002 – Chávez and his followers moved to concentrate power. They seized control of the Supreme Court and undercut the ability of journalists, human rights defenders, and other Venezuelans to exercise fundamental rights.

By his second full term in office, the concentration of power and erosion of human rights protections had given the government free rein to intimidate, censor, and prosecute Venezuelans who criticized the president or thwarted his political agenda. In recent years, the president and his followers used these powers in a wide range of prominent cases, whose damaging impact was felt by entire sectors of Venezuelan society.

Many Venezuelans continued to criticize the government. But the prospect of reprisals – in the form of arbitrary or abusive state action – forced journalists and human rights defenders to weigh the consequences of disseminating information and opinions critical of the government, and undercut the ability of judges to adjudicate politically sensitive cases.

[…]Chávez also rejected international efforts to promote human rights in other countries. In recent years, Venezuela consistently voted against UN General Assembly resolutions condemning abusive practices in North Korea, Burma, Iran, and Syria. Moreover, Chávez was a vocal supporter of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, bestowing upon each of these leaders the “Order of the Liberator,” Venezuela’s highest official honor.

Under Chávez, Venezuela’s closest ally was Cuba, the only country in Latin America that systematically represses virtually all forms of political dissent. Chávez identified Fidel Castro – who headed Cuba’s repressive government until his health deteriorated in 2006 – as his model and mentor.

That’s the dream of people on the left like Sean Penn. They love the idea of doing away with liberty and human rights. They want to force their secular leftist ideology on everyone at gunpoint.

Everyone who is praising this communist dictator today should be ashamed. None of them would move out of the United States to live in Venezuela – it’s nothing but hypocrisy.

Related posts

Socialist government of Venezuela announces devaluation of their currency

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

From the Boston Globe.

Excerpt:

Venezuela’s government announced Friday that it is devaluing the country’s currency, a long-anticipated change expected to push up prices in the heavily import-reliant economy.

Officials said the fixed exchange rate is changing from 4.30 bolivars to the dollar to 6.30 bolivars to the dollar.

So, if you are earning and saving Bolivars, you just got a massive cut to your earnings and savings.

More:

By boosting the bolivar value of Venezuela’s dollar-denominated oil sales, the change is expected to help ease a difficult budget outlook for the government, which has turned increasingly to borrowing to meet its spending obligations.

[…]Economist Jose Guerra told The Associated Press that given the devaluation, he predicts inflation of more than 25 percent this year.

The announcement of the devaluation came after the country’s Central Bank said annual inflation rose to 22.2 percent in January, up from 20.1 percent at the end of 2012.

The oil-exporting country, a member of OPEC, has consistently had Latin America’s highest officially acknowledged inflation rates in recent years. Spiraling prices have come amid worsening shortages of some foods.

[…]It was the fifth time that Chavez’s government has devalued the currency since establishing the currency exchange controls a decade ago in an attempt to combat capital flight.

[…]The government’s announcement drew strong criticism from opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who said that the government’s heavy spending was to blame for the situation and that officials were trying to slip the change past the public at the start of a long holiday weekend.

The opposition party explains why this is happening:

‘They spent the money on campaigning, corruption, gifts abroad!’’ Capriles said in one of several messages on his Twitter account. Capriles was defeated by Chavez in an October presidential vote that was preceded by a burst of heavy government spending.

Who else do we know who likes to spend money and borrow from future generations? Someone whose economic policies are similar to Chavez? Who could it be? Increasing inflation is a very attractive policy to socialists who want to spend more money without raising taxes. It’s a hidden tax on those who try earn more and save their money. It punishes independence and makes dependence on the government inevitable.

Related posts

Explosion at government-run Amuay refinery, nationalized by Venezuela in 1976

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

In the United States, we’ve been seeing some efforts by the Marxist Obama administration to nationalize the auto industry and health care, too. This is what communists favor as the alternative to the free-market system. It makes sense, then, to look at how well the nationalization of assets, especially those owned by foreign-owned private companies, works out in the real world.

Let’s see:

The Creole Petroleum Corporation was an American oil company, formed in 1920 to produce fields on Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela.[1] The company was acquired by Standard Oil of New Jerseyin 1928. Until 1951 Creole Petroleum was the world’s number one oil producer.[2]

In 1950, Creole opened its refinery at Amuay.[3] This is now a part of the Paraguaná Refinery Complex.

The Venezuelan assets of Creole Petroleum Corporation were nationalized along with those of other foreign oil firms on January 1, 1976, becoming part of Lagoven, a Venezuelan government-owned operating company.[4]

And here is the latest triumph of Marxist economics in Venezuela:

A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery early Saturday, killing at least 24 people and injuring more than 80 others in the deadliest disaster in memory for the country’s key oil industry.

Balls of fire rose over the Amuay refinery, one of the largest in the world, in video posted on the Internet by people who were nearby at the time.

At least 86 people were injured, nine of them seriously, Health Minister Eugenia Sader said at a hospital where the wounded were taken. She said 77 people suffered light injuries and were released from the hospital.

Officials said those killed included a 10-year-old boy, but that most of the victims were National Guard troops stationed at the refinery.

Filthy capitalist dogs! Making money on the backs of the poor workers! Making them work in filthy, unsafe – oh, wait. When workers are left free to take their skills to a number of private employers, then those employers are pressured to provide them with better working conditions, wages and benefits. Otherwise the employees leave for better companies. The only problem is that it doesn’t work if all the industries are state-run monopolies. Then, you just get KA-BOOM!

All you have to do to understand economic systems is to compare capitalist Chile with communist Venezuela. The people are the same, and both started out poor. One embraced free trade and privatization, and now that one is rich. The other one gets Chernobyl explosions because they elected a Marxist.

Venezuela’s economic policy is the same economic policy that Barack Obama wants to force on us with his takeover of General Motors, his frequent bailouts, his give-aways to campaign fundraisers, his blocking of free trade deals, his heavy-handed anti-business regulations, and his other intrusions into the private sector. Our entire economy is going KA-BOOM right now because of Marxism.

Related posts

Poll: Disengagement grows the longer workers stay in government jobs

Map of Canada
Map of Canada

From the Ottawa Citizen. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

Recent post-secondary graduates recruited by the federal public service appear to become more disengaged and less ambitious the longer they’re in their jobs.

That’s a key conclusion of a new study that provides an intriguing window into perceptions of government employment by new public service hires and potential recruits. The study, recently posted to a government website, was done for the Public Service Commission by EKOS Research Associates.

It involved online surveys with two groups of people hired through the government’s Post-Secondary Recruitment Program (PSR), as well as recent hires recruited through other methods and “potential recruits” — mostly university graduates under age 35.

As part of the study, EKOS re-interviewed 219 PSR recruits who were surveyed in an earlier phase of the study in 2009. It found some “troubling shifts” in their attitudes.

The importance these recruits attach to “key intrinsic job aspects” has declined over the past year, the study reports. The weight they give to the opportunity to be creative declined by nine percentage points from 2009 to 2010, it says, while the importance they attached to the prestige associated with their jobs fell by 10 points.

There were also smaller declines in the importance ascribed to meaningful work and opportunities for career advancement, while “more extrinsic issues” — such as attractive compensation and a good work-life balance — assumed greater significance.

“These findings suggest that PSR recruits become less ambitious/intrinsically motivated as they spend more time in the federal public service,” the study concludes.

Can people who are disengaged serve the public as well as private sector workers whose compensation and continued employment depends on their being engaged in their work? This is why we need to privatize as much as possible.