Venezuela Did What?!
The biggest private company in Venezuela just went out of business, shocking no one except liberals with a poor grasp of economics. Building wealth in a communist state is like trying to eat cheesecake underwater—it doesn’t make any sense.
What’s worse is that Empresas Polar was a single ray of light in a pit of darkness. The company fought through a jungle of red tape to become Venezuela’s main provider of beer, but price controls strangled the company’s bottom line. (Source: “Beer Here? Venezuela Officials Check If Empresas Polar Really Ran Out of Barley,” The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2016.)
All they wanted to do was sell cold brews to thirsty people, but the government couldn’t leave well enough alone. They insisted on controlling all foreign currency exchange. So when Empresas needed to buy barley for its beer, it couldn’t.
How absurd is that? The company couldn’t close a deal with its supplier because a bunch of bureaucrats refused to hand over U.S. dollars. Without barley, Empresas couldn’t maintain its operations, so it closed all four of its factories.
The closures have already led to 6,500 job losses, with another 3,500 cuts on the way. You would think that’s the worst of it, but this tale gets much, much worse.
In America, we reward entrepreneurs. That’s what makes sense. Anyone who has the guts and know-how to start a business deserves respect.
But in Venezuela, you get the National Guard knocking at your door…and that’s not a metaphor. The National Guard literally marched into the Empresas factory!
Officials from the Labor Ministry marched into two of the company’s factories, flanked by men holding guns. They said it was to “verify” that Empresas had truly run out of barley. But if it was simply an audit, why bring the guns?
“About 50 National Guards have arrived to intimidate us,” said Arquimedes Sequera, who heads the plant’s union. Speaking by phone, he vowed, “we won’t let them pass.” (Source: Ibid.)
Let that simmer for a second. This country is so socialist that a union member is complaining about government intervention.
Someone should gather up all the Bernie Sanders supporters and force them to watch the video of National Guardsmen taking over the factory. Would they be “feelin’ the Bern” after that?
The government’s tactics look a lot like intimidation, especially considering that President Nicolás Maduro issued a barely-veiled threat to Empresas Polar.
“Whoever stops a plant, an industry, a factory will be punished by law,” the president said in public comments. “Plant closed, plant reclaimed by the working class.” (Source: Ibid.)
That’s a blatant threat.
I wonder how today’s warm and fuzzy liberals can support a leader who threatens his own people. Perhaps the liberals don’t even know about it because the “mainstream media” is too busy attacking Trump to notice.
In any case, the bigger story here is the failure of socialism. It is the kiss of death. Even when a company manages to survive in a socialist wasteland, it is soon torn down by an overzealous state. Empresas Polar is proof enough of that.
The company brewed more than 80% of Venezuela’s beer in its four factories. Now, thanks to socialism, 10,000 people are going to be out of work, and plenty more are going to be drinking tap water instead of a cold beer.