In the latest of Venezuelan President Maduro’s increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories, shop owners are now being thrown into prison for intentionally creating long queues.
Shockingly long waiting lines to get basic supplies (euronews)
More information: Venezuelan shop owners arrested over long queues (BBC)
According to Maduro, the current shortages are being caused by an international economic war being waged against Venezuela by enemies to its socialist regime.
The truth is that the country began rationing food in 2014, joining the ranks of Communist countries North Korea and Cuba.
Maduro is jailing business owners for allegedly cutting their number of employees to intentionally “irritate” the people and boycott his socialist regime, and it’s not the first inefficient-sounding measure Maduro has taken to try and solve the problem caused by rationed supplies.
Security forces are now turning away shoppers and limiting them to shopping two days a week.
Some states have also banned overnight queuing, even though people are often turned away when basic supplies run out.
Venezuela is seeing severe shortages of basic subsidized products, such as sugar, shampoo, diapers, milk, soap and medicine.
Even McDonalds has run out of French fries. Tragic.
The country is also in a recession triggered by plummeting global oil prices.
A stunning 95% of Venezuela’s GDP relies on oil revenue.
In 2014, Venezuela’s inflation rate reached a dizzying 63.6% .
And Maduro appears to enjoy blaming Venezuela’s problems on national and international conspiracies aimed at unseating him and his Chavista government.
Only a few days ago, Maduro thought it appropriate to accuse US Vice-President Joe Bidden of planning a coup against him during an international energy summit in Washington.
If that weren’t enough, the Venezuelan government recently pretty much legalized the use of lethal force against protesters, a move that directly violates its own constitution.
On a lighter but cringey note, Venezuela recently added to its many international blunders when it used the photograph of a US reporter who was arrested in the country on a tourism advert that stated: “We love Venezuela for receiving foreigners like one of our own” (see below).
The photograph was of reporter Jim Wyss arriving in the US after being detained in Venezuela. Welcoming indeed.
And in yet more unfortunate news, the United States has recently banned even more Venezuelan officials from entering the country, accusing them of human rights violations and corruption.
Others were issued a visa ban after the excessive use of repressive force during Venezuela’s 2014 anti-government protests.
More on How food shortages are dividing Venezuela (BBC)