Venezuela

How Socialism Wiped Out Venezuela's Spectacular Oil Wealth

Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. It's out of gasoline.

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Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves and yet the country has run out of gasoline. The socialist government has lost the capacity to extract oil from the ground or refine it into a usable form. The industry's gradual deterioration was 18 years in the making, tracing back to then-President Hugo Chávez's 2003 decision to fire the oil industry's most experienced engineers in an act of petty political retribution.

The near-total collapse in the nation's oil output in the ensuing years is a stark reminder that the most valuable commodity isn't a natural resource, but the human expertise to put it to productive use.

"At this moment Venezuela is living through its worst nightmare," said Luis Pedro España, a professor of sociology at Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas, who has studied the nation's economic collapse. "We are witnessing the end of Venezuela as a petro-state."

Gasoline shortages have crippled the economy, made travel within the country prohibitively expensive, and it has increased prices at grocery stores. Shortages and price restrictions have given rise to a vibrant black market.

"Drivers who operate gas-powered busses prefer to keep them parked so that they can suck out the gas and later resell it," says Andrés, a public bus operator in Caracas, who asked that we only use his first name.

"[My] bus runs on diesel. It uses 16 [or] 17 gallons daily. Nowadays, we have to wait in a long line to fill up," he said. "The gas stations even have national guards who ask for bribes before they'll fill up the tank because the 40 liters that the government gives us isn't enough." 

Andrés is allowed special access to fill up his tank because he provides an essential city service. But earning the equivalent of just $200 a month, he struggles to make ends meet. So he keeps his bus parked and extracts gas from the tank to resell on the black market, earning about $8 per gallon. To put that into perspective, the average Venezuelan subsists on less than $10 per day.

The little gas that is still available comes via periodic shipments from Iran. But the Venezuelan government doesn't officially charge at most gas stations. It uses a quota system, so filling a tank can mean waiting in line for days.

David is a mechanic living in Caracas. These days he's making a living by waiting in line to fill up his tank and then extracting the gas to resell on the black market. 

"My business isn't selling gas," David says. "It is meeting the needs of my customers."

"A lot of the clients from my repair shop are elderly people—people who can't be standing in line for eight hours, or two days, or three days, or a week. I am the person who is sacrificing my time. Clearly, I have to charge for my time. We all have to make a living." 

The Venezuelan oil industry turned a once poor agricultural nation into an important geopolitical player and one of the region's richest countries. 

In the mid-1970s, Venezuela nationalized its oil industry, and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) was created to manage operations. Though state-owned, the company was given a high level of autonomy and was known as a "state within a state." The nation's oil wealth allowed for a massive investment in infrastructure and the industry attracted talent from all over the world.

"The current administration, in the last 20 to 25 years, destroyed what we built," says Pedro España. What they had built was "economic independence."

"PDVSA once had over 20 refineries around the world," says José Toro Hardy, an economist and former director at PDVSA from 1996-1999. "We were able to move our oil from the nation's subsoil into the tanks of American drivers," he said. "And the entire process was managed by Venezuelan entities with Venezuelan oil wells, pipelines, Venezuelan tankers…We had built something gigantic, but suddenly, we were faced with a costly historic accident: Hugo Chávez won the election.

Chávez held power from 1999 to 2013, when he died of cancer. He dubbed his policy agenda "socialism of the 21st century." It turned one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America into the site of a humanitarian crisis. Chávez rewrote the constitution, clamped down on the freedom of the press, nationalized over a thousand private companies, and destroyed the national currency through hyperinflation. 

Chávez sought control of the nation's oil wealth to fund his political ambitions, but first, he had to dismantle the mechanisms that were put in place to protect PDVSA's autonomy.

In a move intended to begin that erosion, Chávez began appointing military leaders to PDVSA's board. The conflict between PDVSA's top management and Chávez culminated in a national strike, which took place from December 2002 to February 2003. Chávez proceeded to fire 18,000 state oil workers, including 80 percent of its top engineers, handing control of the industry to the military.

The workers who were fired had "an average of 15 years of experience," Toro says. "In a sense, he threw away 300 thousand years of experience."

"Now, instead of producing five to six million barrels of oil [a day], which is the amount we should be producing, last month's report from OPEC showed that our production, based on external sources, was 339 thousand barrels per day. After once having been a major player in the oil industry, we've become nothing. An insignificant exporter of oil," he says.

"[T]he erosion of checks and balances and the restructuring of PDVSA, allowed Chávez to convert the oil sector into, in essence, the regime's checking account," wrote the political scientists Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold in their 2011 book, Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chávez.

Andrés, the bus driver, believes that if the gas crisis doesn't abate, Venezuela will experience rioting and public unrest. "If there's no more diesel we can't transport food," he said. "Diesel is necessary for heavy shipping, including basic necessities. So people will be out in the streets protesting."

The economic crisis has caused much of the nation's educated middle class to flee the country, which will make rebuilding Venezuela's human capital an even greater challenge. In an ironic twist, Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro, is now working to bring privately-run foreign oil companies back in.

Produced by Andrés Figueredo Thomson; translation by María José Inojosa Salina.

Music Credits: Homeroad, Nothing, and Run by Kai Engel; Suspect Located by Scott Holmes

Photo Credits: JORGE SILVA/REUTERS/Newscom; Juan Carlos Hernandez/ZUMA Press/Newscom; KIMBERLY WHITE/REUTER/Newscom;

NEXT: Thanks to Teachers Unions, Families are Fleeing Traditional Public Schools

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  1. But Venezuela didn’t have REAL socialism, and this time the true socialists will get it right for sure.

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      2. Either the author is a paid shill for the Pentagon disinformation section or he is living proof of the successful dumbing down of the US educational system. The US has placed an embargo on Venezuela’s oil and is strong other arming poorer countries and bribing richer countries around the world not to buy oil from Venezuela and also from Iran. If an armed bully threatens (mafia tactics) your customers not to buy your major product which is your major source of revenue, you will go broke too. It has nothing to do with socialism or how you run your country it has to do with gangster style coercion.

        1. If other countries can’t/don’t buy oil (crude or refined into gasoline), how is it (as reported) that motor fuel is so scarce IN VENEZUELA?
          Can/could they not at least refine their own crude oil into enough motor fuel for their own needs? Have agents of other countries somehow sabotaged Venezuela’s own INTERNAL processes of producing and distributing petroleum products?

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    4. But Venezuela didn’t have the Jack*ass Party to power the world with Jack*ss Green-fart’s. Hugo Chavez was a champion/idol to the Democratic National Socialist party here in the USA. They’re still championing the policy to a T.

    5. Before I even read all the comments, I am certain others will point out that every policy the Biden Harris administration is proposing is Venezuela light policy.
      Chavez and Maduro would agree with every single thing Biden is now doing.
      We can expect the results to be the same as in Venezuela.

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    7. The near-total collapse in the nation’s oil output in the ensuing years is a stark reminder that the most valuable commodity isn’t a natural resource, but the human expertise to put it to productive use…………..MORE DETAIL.

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    9. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad for the victims – the citizens of socialist countries. Every socialism has the exact opposite affect it promises of “power to the people”, “sharing the means of production”, etc… All socialisms end up quickly with a dictator who controls all the wealth, leaving the people impoverished and powerless.

      The problem is the appeal to the lazy of society. Get too many lazy useless people and of course they want a “fair” system that gives them free stuff for doing nothing. We are sadly getting close to that critical mass.

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  2. Cue the chorus of “Reason loves socialism because they said mean things about Trump!”

    1. Damn Sarc, give it a rest. There’s enough shit-posting on these boards without posting wanted ads for it.

      1. This worthless twink has no existence outside of Trump.

        1. I like sarcasmic. I mean, to the extent possible anyway. This is the internet; shit’s not real.

          1. The dude has laid his life on the line in these comments. The fact that we know he is a single dad with a daughter and a crippling alimony obligation is already too much information.

            1. I’ve proven that an imposter regularly posts as ” sarcasmic” and Reason won’t do a damn thing about it. So I’m quite positive that these “fact” of yours are a bunch of shit.

              1. I don’t remember attending this trial, or being presented with any dispositive evidence of an imposter. But, if you would be so kind as to entertain the request, perhaps we can proceed forthwith to a new trial on the merits. The injustice of which you speak cannot be permitted to stand.

              2. Pay your damn alimony.

    2. Rather it’s that Reason loves socialism because most of the staff voted for socialism.

      1. No they didn’t. Most voted for the Libertarian, or not at all. Of those who voted either D or R, more voted D. But that is not most of the staff.

        1. It was a squeaker between the Libertarian candidate and the Biden campaign, and the Biden campaign just barely won among the staff of a purportedly libertarian publication.

        2. In swing states, every vote for Jorgensen was a vote for Biden.

          1. Nope.
            Every vote for her was a vote for the Libertarian Party and principles.

            1. Principals, rarely principles.

          2. Yes. A vote for Jorgensen was a vote to run interference of the championship game by a 3rd party team on the field that never won the primaries. I’m all for Libertarian policy (in almost all aspects) but the way 3rd Parties are going about it is just plays of INTERFERENCE to their own favored policy.

            The PUREST Libertarian vote was on the ‘primary’ ballot in 2017 in the Name of Rand Paul and President Trump wasn’t far off. Any REAL libertarian hating on president Trump grasps at straws to make a legitimate argument and utterly dismisses the majority of this policy.

            1. I wouldn’t vote for Obama because of his drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia and for increasing the national debt with wasteful government spending. I also wouldn’t vote for Trump for continuing the drone strikes and for increasing the national debt with wasteful government spending.
              I don’t think that’s grasping at straws. I think that’s upholding the same standard for both politicians.

              1. So your vote was to “fumble” the ball. You didn’t care if Biden or Trump got the ball; so long as it got fumbled. Check.

                1. A single vote is mathematically worthless in a national election, and no one has any fucking responsibility to vote for your guy. No one is required to vote at all! Since my vote is functionally worthless, I will use it to signal who SHOULD be president, instead of who WOULD.

          3. The salty cope of the losing team never gets old. Of course the winners are no prize either.

      2. every 4 years the losing side says the same shit, it’s all so tiresome.

        1. Yeah but this time there’s the pandemic that’s dwindling revenues and cultural jacobins who want to dismantle society, and a half senile man pushing Venezuelan lite policies with 100 EOs a day.

          1. Venezuela. There is just the US, Venezuela or bust. There really is no other capitalist democracy other than the US in the world. None. Western Europe is non existent of course. As are the 70 odd democracies – capitalist and socialist to varying degrees – with 3 billion citizens. They don’t exist either. Its the US vs Venezuela. Thats it. Reason indeed.

            1. The USA isn’t a capitalist democracy. It’s a Constitutional Union of Republican States. Figuring out WHAT TYPE of country one lives in would be a HUGE enlightening step for everyone on the left (or right but RINO).

    3. Cue the chorus of “sarcasmic’s love for preaching mean things about Trump and his supporters!” …….. And without a single legitimate topic on the matter as-is with almost ALL emotional prejudices and meanness towards President Trump.

      Watch the chicken-peckers peck…

  3. Even though America has huge resources of oil and natural gas, Reason’s favorite Democrats Biden/Pelosi/Schumer and their socialist allies (who falsely feign concern for the environment) have been campaigning to ban gasoline (and everything else that emits carbon) in America.

    1. After Reason campaigns for Biden, and after Biden shuts down the Keystone pipeline (due to lobbying by socialists), bans oil and natural gas drilling on all federal lands, and rejoins the Paris accord (that concedes world dominance to China), Reason criticizes socialists in Venezuela for screwing up that country.

      Such hypocrisy.

      1. Biden’s communist blackmailers in China (who have lots of evidence documenting the Biden family corruption, and the salacious video’s on Hunter’s laptop) don’t plan on reducing their carbon emissions for at least another decade, which is why they’re thrilled that Biden rejoined the Paris accord.
        https://thefederalist.com/2021/02/01/the-real-greenhouse-gas-problem-polluter-isnt-the-united-states-its-china/

        1. ^WORD….. +100000000000000000000000000

  4. If things are bad in Venezuela, the Koch / Reason solution is to invite the country’s entire population to immigrate to the US. It’s the humanitarian thing to do, of course. Better yet, it will provide Reason.com’s benefactor Charles Koch with the additional highly-skilled labor he craves.

    #OpenBordersWillFixEverything

    1. Did you not read that the skilled ones have already left?

  5. “It turned one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America into the site of a humanitarian crisis.”

    But the healthcare is top notch, as evidenced by the dramatic decreases in obesity and heart disease. Starving is heart healthy, America.

    1. And bread lines are a good thing, because that means people are getting food.

      1. “The Biden bread lines are closed for the season — Put your Biden approved masks back-on, pick a number and shut-up or the [WE] mob will sick the military police on your insurrection-al domestic terrorist *ss.”, Your proud, ignorant, tyrannical authoritarian “democracy” of National Socialist Administration.

    2. My Bubbe says ‘eat something’ so I do.

  6. It’s really hard to attract industry when you’ve already communicated that it’s totally cool to just steal them.

    1. But enough about Seattle, we’re talking about Venezuela.

    2. “but not taxing them all into poverty is theft”, claims stupid lefties who have redefined the word theft.

  7. I’m not sure it’s socialism that the USA is leaning towards. Sure, the voter wants their free shit, and the legacy media still adores the Bernies, AOCs, Che’s, whatever. It’s in the legacy media’s roots to support commies, and they aren’t going to change until their boomer leadership dies off.

    But I’d argue that what’s threatening liberty as we speak, and what could certainly lead towards totalitarianism, are these tech giants colluding with the Democrats to destroy dissent against the ruling party. Not sure how to label it. Fascist-Corporatism?

      1. NBC retracted it because readers complained it had ‘anonymous sources’.

        What a shock–“sources say” is now misinformation, rather than penetrating insights straight from the heart of darkness the #reeeeeeeeethithtanth.

    1. Just fascism. That is what it is. Think Italy, not Germany.
      The government uses the corporations to suppress the masses in addition to the occasional release of the blackshirts to make a point.
      The difference between socialism/communism and fascism is just who “the power” says holds the title to the means of production.

    2. Not sure how to label it —
      Well, as an end result of fascist words.

      “Fascist-Corporatism” = “Crony Socialism”

      …but somehow the words got scrambled and redefined. There’s no such thing as “crony capitalism”; the term capitalism instinctively infers NO-GOV influence so how can it be “crony”?

      Fascist is government enforce unification of race and/or religion.
      Socialism is government enforced unification of production.
      Communism is government OWNED country (Socialism on steroids).

      They’re all peas in the same pod of a tyrannical authoritarian government.

      1. … And stamping the adjective “Democratic” on the front of any of them doesn’t change them.
        Sell your individual soul to the [WE] foundation; because you don’t own YOU [WE] own you.

  8. Yeah, but they’re gonna build back better! Venezuelans can all make solar panels!

    1. Don’t forget the land mines!

      1. You are supposed to document all minefields for later removal, after the conflict.
        I Kween Kamala saying the conflict is over?
        Because I really, really, wonder what they are planning that they know they will actually NEED those fences and razor wire obstacles.

    2. Funny how no-one just “builds better” for themselves without government over-lords. hint, hint.

  9. “In an ironic twist, Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro, is now working to bring privately-run foreign oil companies back in.”

    LOLOLOL. Sure, I just bet there are HUNDREDS of corporations just itching to do this. I mean, don’t smart investors simply FLOCK to invest in projects where the government has total control over everything, including their profits and their very existence?

    1. About as funny as a Columbian hippopotamus.

    2. The bus driver is borrowing that strategy from Cuba. He is going to return it in a few years, good as new.

    3. And that same government stole those resources from the same group of corporations in the first place. Better to sponsor a revolution and get a sweetheart deal from the new regime after the old regime is put to death.

  10. I get a kick out of socialist apologists online who accuses us of not making distinction between Stalinism and socialism. For these people, the only problem with socialism is implementation.

    If you want to look at what “democratic socialism” would look like in America long term, just take a look back at 2020. Widespread unrest over economic conditions or even perceived inequity is inevitable under socialism. A nation of 350 million people cannot be sustained by 2 companies that make all the soaps and nationalized wall street that can only invest on things the government approves of.

    And because the progressive government (unchecked by adoring media and bought by oligarchs) bows to mob instincts and have unchecked power to violate the constitution and implement ruinous economic policies in the name of social justice, what we have is essentially Venezuela lite.

    The left lacks imagination is all things they do. For them fascism is when some visible dictator like Chavez imposes his will on people, and racism is when some white supremacists sell Mexican food. But totalitarianism and bigotry is much more subtle than that.

    1. The left lacks imagination is all things they do. For them fascism is when some visible dictator like Chavez imposes his will on people, and racism is when some white supremacists sell Mexican food. But totalitarianism and bigotry is much more subtle than that.

      When John was still commenting here, he’d frequently point out that these people always mean exactly what they say. There’s no reason to believe, “surely they wouldn’t go that far,” because why not? The left has always had the will to power that the right has mostly lacked since the French Revolution, and it’s why the left typically accuses the right of being “tyrants” or “fascists” or whatever buzzword pejorative they’re indulging in at the moment–because they literally believe ANY pushback against their agenda is violent repression.

      Look at the handwringing over the supposed “insurrection” on January 6th. That was no insurrection–it was a bunch of LARPers running around like goofballs for about 15 minutes, and then milling around the Capitol like tourists for another half hour. Real, live, insurrections don’t look like that. They are brutal, bloody, and result in people getting marched out and executed on the spot. They result in whole military units switching sides and standing with the insurrectionists. Newsrooms get invaded and journalists eat bullets on the air.

      Or witness the current narrative by the left that “words are violence.” This isn’t some random idea that went off the rails, it’s a deliberately curated statement to promote the imposition of a left-wing censor state that would crush any active resistance to its agenda. It’s why the neocons made such convenient scapegoats during the 90s and 00s–the only fights they’d ever put up was over tax cuts and military spending. Everything else was a two-decade-long retreat action, and the only real protest they’d ever put up was “librulz r da reel racists/fashists!” These people do NOT like it when they think someone will actually stand up to their bullying and tell them to fuck off, and it’s why right-wing “dictatorships” tend to absolutely crush left-wing activism–because they know that allowing left-wing entryism into any institution is like smoking ten packs a day for 30 years and being shocked that you ended up with lung cancer.

      1. What happened to John?

        1. No idea. His last comment I remember was sometime before the election. He’s taken breaks before, but never this long.

          1. Ahh… I see.

            Thanks for the info. I always enjoy John’s comments.

            I’m glad he didn’t quit in huff like Joe did, oh so long ago.

            1. I certainly don’t remember any “sign-off” posts, but I don’t read every article link on the website, either. If he did anything like that, I missed it.

  11. 1. The govt control of the economy is 30%, with 70 private; Norway has much more government ownership and is the richest nation on earth. Like Venezuela, they depend on oil for revenue. What is the difference?
    2. Norway call sell it oil, while more socialist than Venezuela. But US sanctions are designed to destroy the economy: “U.S. sanctions have crippled Venezuela’s oil export trade,”

    It is absurd to blame socialism (using oil revenue to pay for increased education, healthcare, and aid to the poor) for the crippled economy as the US sanctions are designed to destroy it. Here is an example of how that is happening: “The last time an oil tanker loaded at the Jose terminal was on Oct. 16, according to ship-tracking data. There are no other vessels scheduled for the rest of the month, preliminary reports seen by Bloomberg show. That’s a sharp contrast from three years ago, when the terminal was loading one vessel every 17 hours.

    With the big European and Indian refiners sitting out of the Venezuelan market, little-known companies including Retino Maritime, Kalinin Business, Xiamen Logistic Grass and Wanneng Munay have taken over, the internal reports show. Together they loaded so far 4.6 MMbbl , a far cry from September, when loadings totaled 17.4 MMbbl.”

    Capitalism, in the form of economic warfare, has crippled the Venezeulan economy. That is as plain as day.

    1. Capitalism, in the form of economic warfare, has crippled the Venezeulan economy. That is as plain as day.

      Uh, I’m not sure how much history you’ve read, but economic warfare has been carried out by nations for well over ten thousand years. That’s not an inherent feature of capitalism, it’s an inherent feature of complex societies.

      1. it’s an inherent feature of Democratic National Socialist countries.

    2. Gee, I wonder if there are any reasons for all those economic sanctions.

      Nah, probably just capitalists shitting on them for absolutely no reason, that makes sense.

    3. “…Capitalism, in the form of economic warfare, has crippled the Venezeulan economy. That is as plain as day.”

      You need to see an eye-doctor.

    4. That’s a sharp contrast from three years ago, when the terminal was loading one vessel every 17 hours.

      Hate to break it to you, but Venezuela’s economy collapsed well before three years ago.

    5. So….. Venezuelan’s fuel crisis is because Venezuela cannot ship out enough of it’s own fuel so therefore hasn’t got enough for itself???

      Good grief where does such a lack of ‘brain’ stem from?

    6. “PDVSA once had over 20 refineries around the world,” says José Toro Hardy, an economist and former director at PDVSA from 1996-1999. “We were able to move our oil from the nation’s subsoil into the tanks of American drivers,” he said.

      Yes fracking boom allowed the USA to stop buying Ven. oil….cant blame socialism for this.

    7. Norway call sell it oil?
      What language are we writing here?
      Trying to understand.

  12. Yes, Venezuela has oil, lots of oil. As memory serves, it is high asphalt crude, good for boiler fuel but not all that good for gasoline yield. And then there is Venezuelan politics, which haven’t helped much.

    1. As memory serves, it is high asphalt crude, good for boiler fuel but not all that good for gasoline yield.

      Yeah, Venezuelan oil is utter garbage for anything other than low-grade commercial use. For a while, they had to get it refined at US refineries just to make it semi-useful. When Citgo was using VZ oil in their gas mix, I consistently got about 4-5 mpg less than what I got from Shell gas, which I believe at the time was mostly Nigerian in origin.

      1. Sounds like lefty propaganda to me. If there’s so much of it what’s stopping it from being used as “boiler fuel” for a cleaner refinement?

        Only the left seem to think of ways to redefine science to meet their narratives.

      2. And yet somehow they managed to pump out and sell five to six million barrels of that utter garbage a day.

        1. Most people would be shocked at how pervasive petroleum use really is. Even VZ’s crap oil will still find a buyer.

  13. It turned one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America into the site of a humanitarian crisis.

    This is revisionist horseshit. CUBA was a prosperous Latin American country turned into a toilet by commies. Venezuela has never been prosperous below the surface of the very typical Third World version of ‘Dutch disease‘ (economies dependent on a commodity where price volatility destroys everything else in the economy. When the commodity cycle is good, nothing ever trickles down. The the commodity cycle is bad, none of the bad shit ever trickles up. The entire society becomes corrupt from the top-down. And after 30 40 50 years – generations – it becomes ripe for a populist caudillo. And in Venezuela that was Chavez.

    I was born in Venezuela. Left relatively early but went back every couple decades. NOTHING changed over the entire time at/near the bottom. That was and still is Chavez’ base. Chavez was Trump turned Castro. Not Castro from the beginning.

    1. “Venezuela was once South America’s richest country. Here’s what went wrong”
      https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/venezuela-economic-woes-2017-explained/

      You.
      Are.
      STILL.
      Full.
      Of.
      Shit

  14. Sounds a bit like what Idi Amin did in 1972, only for a different reason. Amin decided to give back Uganda to the Ugandans, by kicking out all of the Asians (including all of the shop owners, doctors, and engineers from India, who pretty much ran everything like power plants, hospitals, and the like). The result was that the economic engine of Uganda was gutted, and no one knew how to work the power grid, or treat patients, etc. I was there for a few hours in 1976 on my way to Kenya, and the country was completely in the tank, and Amin’s army was a bunch of 15-year olds in ratty uniforms with AKs. Luckily, Amin only lasted until 1979, and a lot of the shop owners moved back, not that Uganda doesn’t still need help.

    It’s generally not a good idea to kick out your experts for political (or other) reasons. Hitler kicked out all of the Jews and dissidents from the University of Vienna in 1938, including 157 or the 193 faculty of the Medical School. You can imagine how successful that was, although he also kicked out the Jewish students too. No faculty or students. Very successful.

    Idiotic leaders do this kind of garbage, for whatever reason (racism, nationalism, socialism — or some combination) often enough, with disastrous consequences. You would think people would learn from history.

    1. If all the Jewish professors, and all the Jewish students were kicked out, Do you suppose there would have been no more professors, and/or no more students?
      No, there continued to be professors, and there continued to be students. And JUST AS MANY as there used to be.
      But none of them was Jewish. Were they (in aggregate) not as smart?
      Well, maybe. You sound as though they would not have been. So the Jewish professors, and students were the smarter/smartest, were they? And the remaining Aryans were … less smart?
      Sure. And thanks.

  15. “Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves and yet the country has run out of gasoline.”

    Reagan said “If socialists were put in charge of the Sahara desert. There would soon experience a shortage of sand.”

    Venezuela is living proof of that.

    1. “If socialists were put in charge of the USA. There would soon experience a shortage of production.”

      The USA is living proof of that TODAY! We now import almost EVERYTHING because we have NO production left.

      1. There would soon experience a shortage …
        What language are you trying to write?

  16. Kleptocrats duped the people with the lies about socialism. Once in power they used ideas about socialism to manage things in such away that after a while the Kleptocrats are very wealthy and the population is poor. Oh well, so sad.

    All y’all at Reason don’t seem to understand:
    Guns don’t kill, people do.
    Socialism is an idea, it doesn’t steal. Socialist leaders (Like Fidel Castro) steal after gaining power and pretending to be socialist.
    The global warming pause is old enough to have voted for Trump in 2016.
    The Wuhan Flu, aka Covid-19 has not destroyed the economy, our misguided lockdowns have.
    While there is no such thing as voter fraud, only members of the Democrat Party win elections where counted is dragged out over days and stray ballots are found here, there, and everywhere.
    I’ll all y’all recycle as much as you can. Previously I lived in a city in Wisconsin which would ticket homeowners who didn’t have stuff in their city mandated recycling bin, at least once every two weeks.

  17. Just for perspective, their national production dropping from 5.5 million barrels per day to 340 thousand means that they are producing approximately 1/16th of what they could be, or about 6%.

    1. That’s pretty impressive for a communist regime. I expected maybe two percent.

      1. They’re not done yet.

        1. True. When commies hit rock bottom they usually break out the shovels.

  18. This is where America is headed but Reason is now concerned about Venezuela.

    Reason writers should be excited because now they are going to be able to experience the Venezuela experience themselves. But, even without heat and electricity, they can at least be happy they did their part to rid the country of a capitalist such as Trump. (He tweeted mean things against journalists in case you haven’t heard)

    My next big purchase is going to be candles. I’m going to have to have something to use for light to read the Reason stories as to how our country is so much better with socialists in charge.

    Oh….wait.

    1. When the Banking Tribe runs your economy, it doesn’t matter what you do or what you believe. THEY control YOU.

      You can have any economic system you want if you ditch the Banking Tribe and their Mystery Babylon banking network.

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  20. What did Venezuelans use for light before candles? Electricity.

  21. This is obviously fake news. I have it on good authority from reliable sources like Paul Krugman and Bernie Sanders that Venezuela is an example of economic miracles, and is where the “American dream” is being realized by her citizenry more fully than even in the U.S.

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  23. I looked into it and you can get a nice room in a really nice all inclusive beach resort on an island there for $100 a day or less. So if you wanted to just hang out for a few years eating fresh lobster and paella, drinking rum and watching the scenery it sounds like an attractive option.

    It is really a shame about Venezuela. Now they have lost most of the productive population and investment that will never come back.

    1. Are whores that look like college girls included in that package?

  24. I’m thinking they ran out of the OPM of the Socialists – Other People’s Money.

  25. Where is Sean Penn preaching socialism works? Oh, that’s right, he’s hiding in the same place global warming maroons hide during a blizzard.

  26. “Socialism” didn’t destroy Venezuela. The Bankster Tribe used their traditional tactics to destroy Venezuela. An ocean of oil made “socialism” sustainable, but when the Bankster Tribe takes action to collapse your economy, your economy collapses unless you disconnect from their fake “money” and their Mystery Babylon banking network.

  27. Everyone blames Chavez for socialism down there. But he shouldn’t get all the blame. Even the article hints at when it all began – the 1970s when the oil industry was nationalized under Perez. He also nationalized the steel industry to boot (which used to be the favorite thing for socialists to nationalize) and destroyed whatever economic diversification existed there. Had economic diversification increased there would be no socialism down there and the country would be highly prosperous. And those infrastructure projects mentioned in the article? Funded by debt – incurred during that 1970s oil boom. This is what indirectly lead to Chavez. Before the oil boom, before 1973, Venezuela was relatively prosperous and debt free. The oil boom lead to horrible economic habits, instigated by Perez, which ultimately lead to socialism.

  28. With the Fed joining the NFGS, I can’t help but wonder if 70’s-style gas lines and fuel shrtages aren’t far behind, if the international enviro-fascists finally have their way with regulating the American oil and gas industry to death. They and Chavez would likely be on the same page when it comes to curtailing oil production.

  29. Venezuela has huge oil reserves and then the government took over.

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Milton Friedman

  30. Every day, comments here just rehash the same arguments. No matter how you look at it, undoing failed leftist policies is much harder than changing the some anti-libertarian Trump policies. Reason and many libertarians made the wrong choice, but none will admit that. Everyone assumed that the Republicans would keep the Senate majority and force gridlock.

    1. But nobody is really interested in undoing anything. Government just keeps getting bigger and bigger. There is no interest in libertarian policies. Every now and then they coincide by accident. That does not make me want to switch sides. It is nothing new.

  31. The important point to be made is one that this author does not mention. Economic sanctions of this kind, are contrary to free market principles and human rights. It’s like, you have a neighbor with six young children, and you want to punish him in some way, so you take away his economic livelihood and his children go hungry.

  32. “PDVSA once had over 20 refineries around the world,” says José Toro Hardy, an economist and former director at PDVSA from 1996-1999. “We were able to move our oil from the nation’s subsoil into the tanks of American drivers,” he said.

    Saudi Arabia oil industry is nationalized and its doing just fine! What hurt Ven. petroleum industry was POOR management , US oil fracking boom, and global oil price collapse, not socialism.

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