http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/powerlineblog/livefeed/~3/Q66hPLNtIVU/life-in-the-socialist-paradise-of-bernie-sanders-and-aoc.php

Venezuela is the latest chapter in the long story of socialist crimes against humanity. Venezuela reminds us how long a country can circle the drain, destroyed by socialism but still hanging on by its fingernails. Reuters, a liberal news source, has the latest on Venezuela’s long goodbye, but never mentions the fact that it is socialism that destroyed what once was one of the world’s richest countries:

These days, its Caribbean shoreline flanked by forested hills receives a different type of visitor: people who walk 10 minutes from a nearby town carrying rice, plantains or bananas in hopes of exchanging them for the fishermen’s latest catch.

With bank notes made useless by hyperinflation, and no easy access to the debit card terminals widely used to conduct transactions in urban areas, residents of Patanemo rely mainly on barter.

It’s hard for those debit card terminals to keep up with 1,000,000+% inflation. At InstaPundit, Stephen Green comments: “If you think money is evil, try living on barter.”

From the peaks of the Andes to Venezuela’s sweltering southern savannahs, the collapse of basic services including power, telephone and internet has left many towns struggling to survive.

The subsistence economy stands in stark contrast to the oil boom years when abundance seeped into the most remote reaches of what was once Latin America’s richest nation.

Reuters offers no clue as to what went wrong in Venezuela, except for a vague reference to the end of the “oil boom years.” Actually, Venezuela was richest when oil was relatively cheap, as this graph of the price of crude oil since 1946 reflects:

Meanwhile, the price of crude oil has declined world-wide since the 2009 recession, but North Dakotans aren’t living in a barter economy.

In visits to three villages across Venezuela, Reuters reporters saw residents exchanging fish, coffee beans and hand-picked fruit for essentials to make ends meet in an economy that shrank 48% during the first five years of President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to recent central bank figures.

Those “central bank figures” are way too optimistic. Venezuela’s economy has shrunk much more than 48%, as millions have fled starvation and crime to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Residents rarely travel to nearby cities, due to a lack of public transportation, growing fuel shortages and the prohibitive cost of consumer goods.

In some regions, travel requires negotiating roads barricaded by residents looking to steal from travelers. At one such roadblock in eastern Venezuela, a Reuters witness saw a driver fire gunshots in the air to disperse a crowd.

This is the future that socialists like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many other Democrats want for the United States. Why? Because under socialism the government holds all power, and they are part of the government.

Venezuela is suffering one of the worst economic collapses in modern history. Inflation has topped 1 million percent, according to figures released by the opposition-run congress. The United Nations says 4 million citizens have fled Venezuela, 3.3 million of them since 2015.

Maduro blames the situation on an “economic war” waged by his political adversaries as well as U.S. sanctions that have hobbled the oil industry and prevented his government from borrowing abroad.

Maduro’s claims are idiotic, but they are cited with a straight face by news organizations that refuse to acknowledge the truth about socialism. Socialism is the greatest catastrophe in the history of the human race; the Black Death holds down second place. But as long as power-mad Western elites see socialism as the path to domination, quiescent news organizations will continue to play along.

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