What year is it again?
Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro has announced the arrest of 100 ” bourgeois” businessmen accused of price gouging, Reuters’ Andrew Cawthorne and Deisey Buitrago report.
“They are barbaric, these capitalist parasites!” the pair say Maduro thundered in a speech heralding the round-up. “We have more than 100 of the bourgeoisie behind bars at the moment.”
You’ll recall “parasites” is the same word used by Vladimir Lenin to describe landowning former peasants who were subsequently killed by the thousands in Soviet Russia.
The arrests come three weeks before local elections agreed to be a consensus on Maduro’s administration since the 50-year-old former bus driver succeeded Hugo Chavez.
Inflation in Venezuela has soared more than 50% in the past month, which Maduro blames on a conspiracy by an amorphously defined opposition seeking to bring down the socialist regime. In the past week, soldiers and inspectors have raided more than 1,400 shops and occupied an electronics firm and a battery manufacturer.
The government has also shut down websites showing the bolivar at 10 times the official rate of 6.3 to the dollar. Many blame an artificially overvalued bolivar for the malaise. We’ve previously explained how Venezuelans were exploiting black market exchange rates.
Maduro says he is waging “economic war.” Reuters says the campaign will likely help consolidate his base among the poor and unite factions in the Socialist Party. But a prominent anti-Maduro columnist has likened the campaign to moves made by Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.
Opposition party Justice First says Maduro is producing a dystopian society.
“This shows the economic chaos Maduro has got us in where prices have no logic. The government created this monster and now tries to pretend it will control it, but Venezuelans cannot be deceived by this electoral show,” Justice First said.
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