Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Regime Change Coming to Venezuela?

Long have I thrown my wagers behind a total economic collapse in Venezuela (and a regime change). The short point is this: as the central government over-spends and mis-manages the public sector, it has progressively nationalized more industries (after fabricating reasons to do so) in order to keep the public economy afloat. This has been a downward spiral for the Chavez regime and, unfortunately, for the people of Venezuela.

The current economic crisis includes electricity shortages, food shortages, and gross stagflation (the miserable condition when both unemployment and inflation are high). Chavez' reaction has been tighter money control and market crackdowns, leading to greater economic stagnation.

It's tough to tell what Chavez' popularity is right now. Tight media control in Venezuela has permitted Chavez to blame most economic turmoil on the United States so far, but enough news may be leaking in to suggest otherwise to a large portion of the population.

A parliamentary election is coming in September that could spell the effective end of Chavez. What will be interesting to watch is whether Chavez' regime goes to anti-democratic extremes in order to keep some semblance of legislative power. But either way, if the vote suggests that Chavez has lost popular support in Venezuela, then his ability to drum up anti-American sentiment in other parts of Latin America will be greatly crushed.

Chavez has, for a long time, over-inflated his sense of influence over Latin America, but he's certainly had some. As the economic crisis worsens, whatever influence he had is likely to evaporate.
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