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Venezuela’s descent into chaos

Posted by Richard on January 8, 2008

It should come as no surprise that Venezuela's economy under Hugo Chávez, admirer of Castro, Ortega, Gaddafi, Lukashenko, Ahmadinejad, and Mugabe, has been disintegrating despite soaring oil prices. But it's not just the economy that's in trouble.

When you replace a government of laws with a government of men, when you promote class warfare, when you declare that the needs of the poor entitle them to whatever wealth can be seized, when you use violent gangs of thugs to silence your opponents and achieve your political goals — then you can expect others to follow your lead. The social fabric disintegrates, and the country descends into lawlessness and chaos even as the grip of authoritarianism tightens.

According to Investor's Business Daily, it's safer these days to walk around in the streets of Baghdad than in Caracas, Venezuela:

With even Venezuelan officials admitting their country clocked 12,249 murders in 2007, Hugo Chavez's socialist "sea of happiness" resembles a war zone. In December alone, Venezuela had 670 murders while Iraq had 476 — and that number is falling fast.

This is Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, the place wildly praised by Hollywood eminentos like Oliver Stone and Sean Penn, and its crime is so bad it tops that seen in actual warfare.

… Venezuela is the kind of place where families around the dinner table discuss kidnapping and make pacts to not pay ransom for fear of bankrupting the family.

Meanwhile, night travel is strongly discouraged and no one wears jewelry openly. Security guards pack big firepower to guard tiny businesses like bakeries, and bulletproof cars are common.

It's not just that there are a lot of crimes. There's also a lot of getting away with it. The government, starting to feel heat from the locals over crime, particularly after El Mundo reported the figures, is on the defensive, saying it's busy solving the crimes.

But most violent crimes go unsolved because the Chavez government is more interested in pursuing "political" crimes — like persecuting dissident TV stations and opposition politicians — than hunting down the thugs who make Venezuela less safe than Iraq.

Gee, you think a U.S. troop surge would help? 


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