Here at Li, we’ve been covering the failure of socialism unfolding in Venezuela.  Toilet paper, sugar, and food shortages have resulted in violence and thus far unsuccessful attempts to oust President Nicolas Maduro.  With the country’s citizens tired, hungry, and angry, Maduro has landed on a “solution” that would make Pol Pot proud:  forced labor.

CNN reports:

In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country’s fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended “if circumstances merit.”

. . . .  President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly — the Congress — which is staunchly against all of Maduro’s actions.

According to the decree from July 22, workers would still be paid their normal salary by the government and they can’t be fired from their actual job.

It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves.

As a means of fixing Venezuela’s many and diverse problems that have resulted in the current shortages, this move is, according to Amnesty International,  “like putting a band aid on a broken leg.”

Amnesty International reports:

A new decree establishing that any employee in Venezuela can be effectively made to work in the country’s fields as a way to fight the current food crisis is unlawful and effectively amounts to forced labour, said Amnesty International.

“Trying to tackle Venezuela’s severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“The new decree completely misses the point when it comes to findings ways for Venezuela to crawl out of the deep crisis it has been submerged in for years. Authorities in Venezuela must focus on requesting and getting much needed humanitarian aid to the millions in need across the country and develop a workable long term plan to tackle the crisis.”

The decree, officially published earlier this week, establishes that people working in public and private companies can be called upon to join state-sponsored organizations specialized in the production of food. They will be made to work in the new companies temporarily for a minimum of 60 days after which their “contracts” will be automatically renewed for an extra 60-day period or they will be allowed to go back to their original jobs.

Watch the report:

Given the Maduro government’s focus on both keeping its citizens “quiet” and on “criminalizing those who dare to speak up against government policies,” it’s possible that Maduro will focus on political detractors and dissidents for removal from urban areas to forced farm labor.