Could It Happen Here? 200 Dead, as Sri Lanka Literally Runs Out of Gas

AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

Sri Lanka went woke and now it’s gone broke with enough gasoline to last “for a single day.”

“The Ministry of Finance” of the Democratic Socialist Republic “is finding it difficult to raise $5 million required to import gas,” new President Ranil Wickremesinghe told his hungry and broke nation on Monday.


The people of Sri Lanka are takin’ to the streets.

On foot, of course.

The Indian Ocean island nation’s government committed the country to 100% organic farming in 2021.

Can you guess what happened in between banning agrochemicals and 200 rioting Sri Lankans being shot dead in the streets by security forces?


Within six months of the ban, rice production in the country—a once very sufficient industry—dropped 20 percent, forcing Sri Lanka to import $450 million of rice to meet supply needs and surging rice prices rose nearly 50 percent.

Now, Sri Lanka will pay farmers across the country 40,000 million rupees ($200 million) to compensate for their barren harvests and crop failures. In addition to the funding, the Sri Lankan government will pay $149 million in price subsidies to rice farmers impacted by the loss.

Formerly self-sufficient, taxpaying farmers were forced on the government dole — by the government.

Sri Lanka doesn’t produce much more than farm commodities like rice, coffee, and tea, so you probably know what happened next.


Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. Its economic miseries have brought on a political crisis, with the government facing a protests and a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

The reserves declined to $3.1 billion by the end of 2021, and to $1.9 billion by the end of March, he said. With foreign currency in short supply thanks to less tourism and other revenues, official reserves were tapped to pay for importing essentials including fuel, gas, coal and medicines beginning in August 2021.


That’s why Wickremesinghe said that “Although the former government’s budget projected revenue of SLR 2.3 trillion, SLR 1.6 trillion is the realistic projection of this year’s revenue.”

Other people’s money always seems to run out, doesn’t it?

The country must import everything from gasoline to medicine, but President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s all-organic plan wiped out the country’s tax revenues and the foreign currency reserves it needs to buy all those imports.

The protests started out mostly peaceful last week, with citizens doing nothing more violent than dumping politicians’ cars into rivers.

The previous prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, called it quits a week ago. You read that last name right: I mentioned his brother, the president, just two paragraphs ago.

Ruining Sri Lanka is the family business:

It’s hard to overstate the influence of the Rajapaksa clan in all this. Gotabaya, who won office in the November 2019 presidential elections, appointed his brother, Mahinda, as Prime Minister. If this pairing sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Mahinda Rajapaksa first came to power in 2004, initially as Prime Minister and then as President. At the time, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Defence Minister and was notorious for his role in the 2009 operation to end the civil war with Tamil rebels. Thousands died or disappeared amid allegations of torture, rape, extra-judicial killings, and the abduction and assassination of Tamil separatists, journalists, and opposition figures. Gotabaya Rajapaksa denies all these allegations.


There are no elections scheduled before 2024, and with a two-thirds majority in parliament, the Rajapaksa clan would have to lose big to lose at all.

So instead of throwing the bastards out, Sri Lankans are throwing cars into rivers and assaulting the people who got them into this mess.

What other choice do they have?

With gas and food prices surging and baby formula scarce on store shelves, I’m just thankful we don’t have to wait any later the November for a chance to throw out our bastards.

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