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Venezuela: The Unbearable Emptiness of Supermarket Shelves

When your government's misguided policies have tanked the economy, generating one of the highest inflation rates in world, you should, as any seasoned authoritarian will tell you, blame it on the nefarious forces of the opposition. In Venezuela's case (the least economically free nation in 2014 according to Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom), where less than lackluster economic policies harking back to the populist reign of Hugo Chávez and the recent precipitous fall of oil prices (petroleum exports account for 95% of total exports) have caused widespread scarcity of basic goods (not to mention ice cream stop closures) and long queues at subsidized state stores, the official response of the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, is to go on the offensive. He has thus accused large supermarket chains of "hoarding goods and smuggling items out of the country" to create artificial scarcity and other shop owners of creating queues on purpose, all in a effort to topple him. He even had the some of the latter arrested.


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