Venezuelan Food Crisis Worsens
Venezuelans face many problems but few are as dangerous as it's food shortages. Long lines and lack of access to basic goods have led to widespread protesting, incidents of looting, and Venezuelans turning on one another. More than 20 out of 100 goods are no longer found on shelves in stores. And the problem only appears to be getting worse.
Much of the problem has to do with an inept and corrupt governing class. Hugo Chavez started a mass appropriation program which has been used to seize much of countries farmlands and to target political opponents. While current President Nicolas Maduro also uses this tactic, often citing that the farm land isn't being used efficiently, food production in the country has been drastically reduced.
The situation has gotten so bad that the Government is now calling for citizens to grow their own food. President Maduro claims he and his family have 60 chickens (which they likely took from someone else) and fails to recognize that 83% of the population lives in cities. After the government seized farms and cut production, telling citizens to grow their own food is patronizing at best. Criminal at worst.
Land appropriations continue with more than 300,000 acres being taken by the government each year. Farmers have also been under strict price setting by the Maduro regime, often being forced to take a loss on their production, which naturally led to farms going under. The farms that remain open lack the essential supplies to increase their production, such as pesticides and seeds.
When times were good and the price of oil was high, the Venezuelan government forced the price of goods down. Some went so far as to betray their people by hoarding goods for future extortion, or just selling them across the border. Maduro instated laws to prevent hoarding and smuggling and uses force to recover contraband goods.
It would be easy to get political, or even start calling names, but the important thing is that he people of Venezuela need our help. It is neither fair nor just for them to suffer by the actions of their leaders. I guess it's just another example of the failed economic practice of a megalomaniac socialist regime which thinks it can out think the free market.