If you thought Hugo Chavez was bad, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, is Chavez without the charisma. But Maduro learned all of Chavez’s tricks to stay in power, and one of them is to claim to be involved in a perpetual war against outside forces who are bent on destroying their socialist paradise. In this case the “high prices” in Daka stores (equivalent to our Best Buys) gained the ire of Maduro who sent the military in to seize the stores and require them to offer “fair prices” on their electronics:
Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.
Daka’s store managers, according to Maduro, have been arrested and are being held by the country’s security services. Neither Daka nor the government responded to requests for comment.
Of course, Daka is unlikely to continue to serve Venezuela if it can’t make a profit – something most socialists governments have never understood. But let’s look at the real reason this is happening:
“I have no love for this government,” said Gabriela Campo, 33, a businesswoman, hoping to take home a cut-price television and fridge. “They’re doing this for nothing but political reasons, in time for December’s elections.”
Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.
“This is more like government-sanctioned looting,” said 42-year-old Caracas-based engineer Carlos Rivero. “What stops them going into pharmacies, supermarkets and shopping malls?”
It is exactly like government-sanctioned looting. And the engineer’s point is telling – what industry in Venezuela can feel safe given the actions of this government? Why would any foreign entity ever invest or take the chance of establishing itself in Venezuela? Each election would put them on a target list for seizure depending on how poorly the head of the government viewed his popularity and how much he felt it necessary to boost his reputation.
The one entity whose job it is to protect you from force and fraud is engaged in both “legally”.
Why would anyone feel safe?