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Bracing For The Venezuelan Meltdown
by James Dunnigan
December 29, 2013

The situation next door to Columbia is getting worse. The economy in Venezuela is collapsing as government efforts to run the economy continue to fail. The growing corruption in the government doesn’t help either. The self-proclaimed socialist government of Venezuela blames foreign enemies for sabotaging the economy, which has seen 107,000 businesses close in the last 13 years and the economy shrink by a third. The government economic statistics are largely fiction and attempts to hide the decline. But there is no hiding the inflation rate, which is now over 50 percent and getting worse. The government says unemployment is under 8 percent and falling but the visible number of idle men and the growing number of government jobs that involve no real work demonstrate why there is such a high inflation rate. The economy is crippled by restrictive government policies and unable to produce or distribute enough consumer goods. The shortages are increasingly visible, even though the government cracks down on any local media that points this out. Venezuela is emulating Cuba, where half a century of communism has impoverished most Cubans and made it a criminal offense to even discuss change. Venezuela can’t stop the economic meltdown and growing shortages, unless the government takes control of the entire economy and institutionalizes poverty and shortages as countries like Cuba and North Korea have done. The government is expanding its control but does not have the manpower or the will to go all the way. The problem in Venezuela is that a lot more people still have access to weapons and government efforts to arm pro-government militias has backfired, as many of the militiamen are no longer loyal to the government. Colombia fears a civil war in Venezuela that would send hundreds of thousands of refugees into Colombia and make the border even more of a combat zone as drug gangs became less restricted (by Venezuelan forces) on the Venezuelan side of the border.

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