President Hugo Chavez blames capitalism for Venezuela’s deepening economic crisis. But the Bolivarian Revolution will set things right.
One of the “solutions” that Chavez has in mind is expropriating the Polar Group’s assets nationally.
“Look at yourself in the mirror of RCTV,” Chavez warned Polar’s CEO Lorenzo Mendoza on 2 June.
Chavez isn’t bluffing. The regime has been eyeing Polar’s assets for a long time, and launched its offensive to seize the group three months ago.
The recent illegal expropriation of Polar’s warehouses in Barquisimeto’s Industrial Zone I, and the theft by National Guard troops of 120 tons of food from a Polar warehouse in Lara are part of this official offensive against Polar. So are the theatrics this week of PSUV National Deputy Iris Varela (aka Fosforito) demanding a meeting with Polar CEO Mendoza to negotiate on behalf of retired Polar employees with grievances.
The Polar Group employs over 31,000 persons at its four beer breweries, three beverage plants, 13 food plants and 46 distribution subsidiaries nationally. Polar ships 6,000 tons of food per day in 250 primary trucks and 700 secondary trucks, servicing a daily average of 9,000 clients. Every week, Polar companies services over 50,000 points of sale nationally. All of this is previously approved by regime “fiscales,” since the government now demands a priori “guias de movilizacion,” which Polar churns out at a rate of 1,600 per day.
Chavez is framing his planned expropriation of Polar’s assets as part of a class war between workers and the “bourgeoisie.” He urged “Venezuela’s true labor class” on 2 June to launch an “economic war against the bourgeoisie.”
“I was born for battle, I was born for battle…They have declared economic war against me,” Chavez said, in reference to Fedecamaras and Consecomercio. “I declare myself at economic war, and I call now on the people and the workers to this economic war.”
But Chavez reserved his harshest threats for Polar’s CEO.
Caracas Gringo has said it before: The Chavez regime is seeking total control over the country’s food supply. Whether it can do so remains to be seen, but asserting total state control over the food supply is an effective policy tool for containing dissent. This strategy comes from Cuba, without a doubt.
Of course, nothing that the Chavez regime seizes works even slightly well after the revolution takes over. Productive enterprises that were seized by the regime and quickly run into the ground include Pdvsa, Electricidad de Caracas, Sidor, the basic industries, the cement companies, millions of hectares of agricultural lands, food warehousing and processing companies, the commercial ports, Banco de Venezuela, Cantv, etc.
This means that when Chavez steals Polar, the revolution (by some estimates) will control over 80% of the national corn flour market, among other staples. But Venezuela’s largest private food group will collapse quickly too, and the shortages that Venezuelans are suffering today will quickly spiral.
Chavez continues to insist that nothing bad is happening in Venezuela today, but if anything bad is happening in Venezuela then it most definitely is not the fault of Chavez or the Bolivarian revolution.
National power crisis? The fault lies with El Nino, global warming, capitalism and internal sabotage by agents of the empire and bourgeoisie.
Food shortages? The “squalid bourgeoisie” is hoarding food supplies to create artificial shortages and drive up food prices.
GDP shrank 5.8% in first quarter 2010? It’s the fault of capitalism, and contraction is a necessary stage in dismantling the pillars of capitalism.
The regime ran out of hard currency? The guilty parties are bourgeois speculators conspiring internationally to weaken the currency and destabilize Chavez. But the president already has moved decisively to shut down the parallel market and is also threatening to seize the country’s private banks.
However, nothing is ever Chavez’s fault, and meanwhile the only possible solution – strictly from a Bolivarian perspective – is more expropriations. Vice President Elias Jaua said it clearly: “21st century Socialism and capitalism cannot coexist.”
That’s why Chavez will eat the bear, and the “pueblo” will know more hunger.