Don't Cry for Me, Venezuela

Hugo Chavez is back home after a hospital stay in Cuba, but he might wish he’d stayed in bed a while longer:

On top of 23 percent inflation and growing government debt, worsening blackouts have emerged as a serious dilemma, forcing Chavez’s government to announce rationing measures including rolling power outages in some parts of the country.

Venezuela is one of the most energy-rich countries in the world, and with a comparatively tiny population of 29 million. That’s not many more people than Saudi Arabia’s 27 million souls — and current estimates are that Venezuela has greater oil reserves than the desert kingdom. So where are Venezuela’s glittering highways, the ritzy shopping malls, the endless fleets of BMW and Mercedes sedans? The CIA Factbook put the poverty rate at 37% in 2005, before the current downturn and 32% inflation rate. Venezuela — sitting on top of all that energy — can’t even supply simple electricity to its impoverished masses.

That’s all you need to know about socialism, Bolivarian or otherwise, right there.