After eight weeks of protests, 49 deaths, 13,000 injured, and 1,500 arrests, Venezuela’s citizens are turning violent. In the town where Hugo Chávez spent his early years, termed the “cradle” of his socialist revolution, protesters not only burned down his childhood home but also several government buildings, including the regional office of the National Electoral Council. This led one observer of the violence to remark that at least the protesters know whom to blame for their current troubles. Said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, “It is pretty symbolic that the citizens are venting their frustrations on the author of the Bolivarian revolution.”
And well they might. That socialist revolution has turned one of South America’s most prosperous countries into a cauldron of violence over lack of food and basic necessities, caused by government interference in the economy. That interference controls nearly every aspect of the economy: production, transportation, and pricing, all operated in the most inefficient manner possible: by government bureaucrats rather than free market entrepreneurs, farmers, ranchers, and shopkeepers.
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