Children play in Caracas' poor Petare neighborhood near a sign reading "Vote for Chavez" in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006. Overwhelmingly re-elected in recent presidential elections, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez begins a new term with the challenge of attending the growing needs of the poor, who feel unsatisfied with current crime levels, unemployment, poverty, and lack of decent housing. (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch)

The ‘Socialist Diet’: 74 Percent of Venezuelans Lose At Least 19 Pounds in Past Year

The socialist government in Venezuela appears inadvertently to have found a solution to the ever-increasing weight of the wheelbarrows of money needed to buy basic goods there: offset it with the decreasing weight of Venezuelans. The 2016 Living Conditions Survey (abbreviated to Encovi in Spanish) found that 74 percent of Venezuelans lost at least 19 pounds in the last year.

This “socialist diet” is no collectivist success story. While perhaps a good number of Americans could stand to lose that much, the fact is that most Venezuelans cannot reach the recommended 2,000 calories per day. According to the study, 10 percent of children stopped attending classes because they do not have anything to eat at home or on campus, while 30 percent did not attend because of problems with the supply of water.

Starvation in socialist and communist regimes is nothing new. For example, there is evidence that during Mao’s reign of terror, several million Chinese starved to death — something the government was fully aware was happening and to which Mao himself dismissively responded, “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

Certainly, not all socialism-induced mass starvation is intentional or even dismissed. Often it is the result of bad ideas that stem from good intentions, such as the story narrated by a character in Atlas Shrugged in which the Twentieth Century Motor Company adopts Marxism to disastrous results. Undoubtedly, the Venezuelan president is horrified and desperately seeking a solution.

Well, perhaps not: in a video from late last year, President Maduro laughs that “La dieta de Maduro te pone duro” or “The Maduro diet makes you hard.” By this time, there is no way he is unaware of the suffering of the people.

Other findings in the study — conducted by Runrunes, a Venezuelan news, opinion and analysis website — include the fact that 82.8 percent of Venezuelans are poor in income, up from 73 percent after only a year. This is no major problem in socialist country though, since so many needs are met by government, such as health care, right? Wrong again. The study found that 63 percent of the population does not have a health insurance plan, up 10 percent in a year.

I have a feeling that Michael Moore will not be making a sequel to Sicko in which he investigates Venezuela.

The idea that socialism just needs to be implemented correctly is a deadly form of self-deceit and we can only hope and pray that Venezuela gives it up sooner than later.

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J. Cal Davenport

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