Socialist Venezuela is Out of Food, Out of Power, Out of Hope

Venezuelans aren't feeling the Bern because Socialism has taken them from prosperity to hopeless misery. Who knew history would repeat itself over and over and over again. First the stores ran out of toilet paper. Then no more milk. Now the stores don't even have electricity.

Venezuelans are accustomed to severe shortages of cooking oil, diapers and other staple products. But those hoping to buy what they could find got a new unpleasant surprise this week.

They found malls dark and shuttered under a government electricity rationing regime.

"This is madness, this is not the solution!" said Nataly Orta, 48, at the locked gate of the Lider mall in eastern Caracas.

Authorities ordered more than 250 shopping centers to find other sources of power from 1:00 to 3:00 pm and again from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, for the next three months.

Also there's no food or medicine, so this just simplifies things.

According to figures published by newspaper El Tiempo, there is a shortage of 90% on staple goods such as flour, coffee, sugar, and meat, and 80% shortage in medicines.

Rosalba Castellano, 74 years old, spent hours this week in what has become a desperate routine for millions: waiting in long lines to buy whatever food is available. She walked away with just two liters of cooking oil.

“I hoped to buy toilet paper, rice, pasta,” she said. “But you can’t find them.” Her only choice will be to hunt for the goods at marked-up prices on the black market. The government, she said, “is putting us through savage suffering.”

“Our food rots without electricity, and it’s sad because it’s so difficult to find food here,” said Mr. Chacin’s neighbor, Sasha Almarza. “When we are able to find any in the store, we eat it all the same day.”

Universal health care isn't working too well either.

In a hospital in the far west of this beleaguered country, the economic crisis took a grim toll in the past week: Six infants died because there wasn’t enough medicine or functioning respirators.

On a recent day at the University Hospital of Maracaibo, in Venezuela’s second-largest city, patients lay on bare beds in rooms with dirty floors. There was no running water, medicine, cleaning supplies or food. Feces floated in the toilets. Medical staffers there said gang members roam the halls, forcing underpaid and harassed doctors to lock themselves in the offices to avoid assaults.

“It feels like this hospital is under siege,” said Dora Colmenares, a liver surgeon. “We urgently need humanitarian aid.”

Socialized medicine. It's a killer. There are solutions, but Socialists only know one kind of solution.

The National Assembly, now controlled by the opposition, declared a food emergency on Thursday—an attempt to spur the government of President Nicolás Maduro to, among other things, ease price controls that have created shortages of everything from medicine to meat.

Maduro though is running his own kind of emergency. Venezuela's insane left-wing leader and former bus driver packed the Supreme Court to give himself infinite power even after losing legislative elections.

The country’s Supreme Court gave Mr. Maduro special powers that allow him direct control over the budget and a freer hand in intervening in private companies.

Because the best way to fix a Socialist mess is with more Socialism. But you can't say Maduro hasn't learned anything from Obama.

Mr. Maduro has hinted at various policy initiatives. This past week, he opened a Facebook account. “I want to expand my direct presence on social media,” he posted, adding two pictures.

The opposition just wants him out.

Venezuela's opposition said it will launch discussions Sunday aiming to devise a legal procedure within weeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro, whom it blames for the oil-rich country's economic crisis.

Prominent opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara said on Twitter: "Tomorrow we will begin a discussion on the constitutional procedure for achieving a change of government."

Maduro and his cronies aren't going to follow any constitution. No more than Obama does. They're running a Socialist narcostate with a fanatical following. This is going to get ugly.