Beginning in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, numerous Latin American countries underwent a left leaning shift that has been dubbed “the pink tide.” This moniker was created to contrast itself with the more extreme “red” socialism that stood for the abject failure of the Soviet Union.
It was supposed to be a more moderate form of socialism, perhaps more in line with the welfare states of Europe. In theory, it would have all the supposed benefits of communism, like equal rights, land reform, and cheap government services, but without the single party politics and death camps.
In practice, socialism has never had any of those supposed benefits, and if they do, they usually accomplish them by burying their country in debt and poverty. You can paint a fresh face on socialism, but it’s still the same vile system of exploitation that killed millions of people in the 20th century; and much like their hated rivals, the crony capitalist systems of the West (i.e. not truly capitalist in any sense of the word), their system still engenders an elite cartel of despots that lord over their impoverished people.
This supposedly moderate “pink tide” was led by Hugo Chavez’s gang in Venezuela, after he won the 1998 election. Within 6 years, the people of Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic had all elected leftist governments. Within a few more years, Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Ecuador would follow.
But since the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, the fate of the pink tide nations has never looked so bleak. Venezuela was the poster child of this movement, and their country is currently enduring one of the most devastating economic calamities in modern history. They just don’t understand that no matter what shade of socialism you create, it will always fall apart. In this case, Venezuela is facing one of the classic symptoms of a failed Soviet state. That is, shortages of basic necessities.
Venezuela’s product shortages have become so severe that some hotels in that country are asking guests to bring their own toilet paper and soap, a local tourism industry spokesman said on Wednesday.
In Merida, a state in western Venezuelan that’s known for its stunning mountain landscapes, small hotels are struggling to stock their rooms with basic supplies, especially as the busy Semana Santa or Holy Week holiday gets underway.
“It’s an extreme situation,” says Xinia Camacho, owner of a 20-room boutique hotel in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada national park. “For over a year we haven’t had toilet paper, soap, any kind of milk, coffee or sugar. So we have to tell our guests to come prepared.”
It appears that the shortages are being caused by price controls, which is arguably one of the dumbest economic rules any nation can impose on their people. By keeping prices artificially low, the people of Venezuela can now sell basic necessities at a profit if they cross the border into Columbia. Predictably, this causes the price to rise domestically, as these products are driven into the black market.
When the owner of that hotel was asked about the black market that now supplies these necessities, she inadvertently revealed the mass ignorance of basic economics, that now prevails in Venezuela.
Camacho says she refuses to buy toilet paper from the black market on principle.
“In the black market you have to pay 110 bolivares [$0.50] for a roll of toilet paper that usually costs 17 bolivares [$ 0.08] in the supermarket,” Camacho told Fusion. “We don’t want to participate in the corruption of the black market, and I don’t have four hours a day to line up for toilet paper” at a supermarket.
What she doesn’t understand, is that 110 bolivares is the real price. You might notice that 50 cents isn’t an unusual price for a roll of toilet paper, even in the US. Depending on the brand and whether or not you buy in bulk, toilet paper typically costs anywhere between 30 cents and $1.50 per roll. What’s insane is selling it at 8 cents per roll. That’s a price control dictated by the government, and all the black market has done is set the correct price.
If her opinion is shared by most of her countrymen, that explains a lot about their current predicament. When the masses don’t understand history and are completely ignorant of basic economic facts, they will be taken in by silver-tongued politicians promising prosperity and equality, while delivering dysfunction and tyranny. Good thing they would never do such a thing in America. Right?
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .