Nicolás Maduro has the announced the end of Venezuela’s notoriously inexpensive subsidized gasoline for opponents. The Venezuelan strongman said yesterday that he will maintain the subsidy for gasoline, the cheapest in the world, only to those who hold a document called a “carnet de la patria”: basically it identifies Venezuela’s as supporters of the ruling socialist regime, and amounts to nothing more than a mechanism of social and political control.
He said that those who are interested in continuing to receive subsidized gasoline should register their vehicle in a census that will last until next Friday, in which they also must provide the aforementioned card.
Gasoline in the oil state is practically given away: with a dollar purchased on the black market you can buy almost five million liters of gasoline (or 1.3 million gallons). However, if the government were to sell gasoline at current international prices it would be beyond the economic reach of all but the wealthiest Venezuelans.
Currently, a Venezuelan can get a liter of gasoline for a bolivar. According to deputy José Guerra, the new price at which gasoline will be quoted without subsidy, will be USD $1.10 per liter, a sum that would be out of the question for virtually all Venezuelans, who earn abysmally low salaries.
Maduro is employing an old socialist strategy; it is about isolating and excluding those who are not militants and sycophants of the tyrant. First they steal from the people, impoverish the nation, and then demand loyalty in exchange for a few crumbs. In Cuba, those who are opponents live in practically destroyed houses, their children can not go to universities, and they do not have access to healthcare.
In Venezuela, those who do not have the national identity card, and those who do not work in Chavista movements, can not obtain food bags at subsidized prices provided under the auspices of CLAP (Local Committees for Supply and Production). They have been a key tool in propping up the government, as it weaponizes sustenance, and ensures that the government controls distribution, placing the poorest Venezuelans directly at the mercy of the Chavista regime for their very survival.
From now on those who do not have the license and register their vehicles, will only have gasoline at an unpayable price for the Venezuelan people.
The message from socialist regimes in Latin America is clear: if you don’t support our government, we will use our absolute control of the economy to make your life miserable.
Venezuela was once the envy of Latin America. Immigrants flocked to Caracas, Maracaibo, and elsewhere to work in the country’s lucrative oil industry, while multinational corporations were eager to do business there. Venezuela was connected to the world by dozens of airlines offering hundreds of flights. Shiny new shopping malls teemed with the latest products, which a Venezuelan public, earning high wages, could buy.
Now, Venezuela is the disgrace of Latin America, with a standard of living comparable to Haiti.
Leon Trotsky said: “In capitalism, those who do not work do not eat; in socialism, he who does not obey will not eat.”
Chavismo is so morally bankrupt that it must now resort to using access to food and gasoline, as a means to control the people.