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Venezuela Tag

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.

The food shortages in Venezuela have continued to worsen to the point where thousands of people are fleeing the country to Colombia if they're able. FOX News Latino reported:
In just 12 hours, more than 35K Venezuelans cross Colombian border to buy food, medicine In just 12 hours, more than 35,000 Venezuelans crossed the border into Colombia on Sunday to buy food and medicines in the city of Cucuta, when the Venezuelan government agreed to opened border crossings for one day only.

The biggest supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's programs have turned against him since they now suffer from the food shortages affecting the rest of the country. Party officials stressed to The London Times that Maduro's distribution system has "broken down and that conditions are ripe for civil war." He hoped the system would end the long lines "and black marketeers at state-subsidised supermarkets." Riots have exploded in these areas:
What is striking is that the riots — sometimes half a dozen a day in the capital — are in working-class slums far from the middle-class areas where support for the opposition has traditionally been strongest. The opposition, which controls congress, is trying to push through a referendum to remove Mr Maduro but that will take time and hungry people are more concerned about procuring food. To put an end to the vast queues and black marketeers the government recently started distributing food directly to local community councils. In an area of Antímano, one of the largest slums, a council spokeswoman said that the first delivery was supposed to arrive in April but only half of it arrived. To avoid riots — and accusations that it had stolen the missing food bags — the council did not give out any supplies. Last month none arrived. This month’s supply has still not come and now there is no food in the supermarkets either.

Most people can do without certain luxuries and conveniences for a significant amount of time. Temporary power and internet outages due to storms are common in many parts of America and people get through it. Food on the other hand, is a different story. As any student of history can tell you, when people can't find food things get ugly pretty fast. Venezuela is quickly entering that danger zone. Reuters reports:
'We want food!', Venezuelans cry at protest near presidency Venezuelan security forces fired teargas at protesters chanting "We want food!" near Caracas' presidential palace on Thursday, the latest street violence in the crisis-hit OPEC nation.

The socialist paradise of Venezuela is falling apart as panicked citizens suffer through shortages of food, toilet paper, electricity and other necessities. Bernie Sanders was recently interviewed on Univision and the host asked Bernie for his thoughts on the situation. Once again, leave it to someone in foreign media to ask a question no one in American journalism has thought to ask. Sanders clearly didn't like where the interview was going. NewsBusters reported:
Bernie Hits Bump on Univision: Speechless on Socialism’s Failures The Democrats’ socialist candidate for President of the United States, Bernie Sanders, was seriously tripped up this week in an interview with Univision’s León Krauze.

What could be seen as the final act in Venezuela’s worsening economic crisis, the Latin American country has begun selling its remaining gold reserves. Just three year after the death of its socialist leader, Venezuela -- once a leading oil producer -- is on the verge of bankruptcy. It is yet another 'miracle of socialism' that a country with the world's largest oil reserves can go almost broke. Venezuela's total oil reserves stand at an estimated 296.5 billion barrels, which is higher than Saudi Arabia’s 265.4 billion barrels. But the cash-strapped country is struggling to get investments and technical expertise to convert its oil reserves into revenue. Socialist leader Hugo Chávez got elected as country’s President in 1999 and introduced the ideology of “Socialism of the 21st Century”. Chávez enacted a new constitution, taking control of the state and the economy to carry out his “socialist revolution”.

Coca-Cola has become the latest victim of socialism as the company announced it will no longer develop its product in Venezuela. Without sugar, they can only produce sugar free Coca-Cola. From CBS News:
The Atlanta-based company said in an emailed statement Friday said that its production of sugar-sweetened beverages will be suspended in the coming days after local suppliers reported they had run out of the raw material. Sugar-free beverages are not affected and the company said its offices and distribution centers remain open in Venezuela.

Venezuela Update: Is the end of violence finally in sight after two months of deadly anti-government  protests? In February, I highlighted the Venezuela protests with depiction of protesters taking to the streets to fight against corruption in the government, high inflation, and a high murder rate. At least three people were confirmed to have been killed during anti-government protests by “armed vigilantes on motorcycles.” After nearly two months of protests, 39 deaths, and and hundreds of people detained after confrontations with Venezuela security forces, talks between the government and opposition are in the works. BBC News reports that an umbrella opposition group says it is willing to enter into talks with the government as long as certain conditions are met. According to BBC News:
In a letter addressed to the Unasur delegation, the umbrella opposition group Table for Democratic Unity (MUD) said it was "willing to hold a true dialogue, with a clear agenda, equal conditions [for both sides] and the first meeting of which will be transmitted live on national radio and television channels".
Additionally, the opposition wishes to have a third, independent involved in the talks in order to facilitate the process. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier agreed to meet with members of the opposition, reports the Latin Times. Unasur and the Vatican have made offers to act as observers, and President Maduro said he "accepted" the Unasur proposal, according to BBC News. On Sunday, a graphic video depicting the Venezuelan people confronting the government for control of the streets was posted to Youtube. Watch it below:
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