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December 6, 2018

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Without gas for cremation, even dying is a struggle in Venezuela.

The decay of Venezuela’s oil industry burdened citizens for months with long gasoline queues and shortages of cooking gas, and has now hit families bidding farewell to loved ones.

Venezuelans have shifted toward cremations, which cost about a third of burials, but growing demand has crematories struggling to obtain natural gas.

Members of a dozen families said in interviews they now wait as long as 10 days.

So far, common graves have been used primarily in Zulia, where blackouts and gas shortages tend to be most extreme. But decaying services in other states could spread the practice.

Shortages of wood and metal for coffins and cement for graves have complicated traditional burials. Some families wait for crematories to obtain propane gas. But the wait also boosts costs, with annual inflation nearing 1 million percent.

Command economies eventually run out of everything but zeros.