A Venezuelan Contagion?

Venezuela Chavez nationalizes French-owned retailer

CARACAS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez on Sunday nationalized a chain of supermarkets controlled by France's Casino (CASP.PA) on charges of price gouging after the government devalued the bolivar currency.

"Because of multiple violations of Venezuelan laws the Exito chain will now belong to the republic, there is no way back," Chavez said on his weekly television show.

In his 11 years in office, Chavez has nationalized large swathes of the economy, including major oil projects along with electricity and telecommunications companies.

The leader who calls Cuba's Fidel Castro a mentor has recently declared himself a Marxist and wants to build a socialist society in one of the world's top oil exporters.

He said the Exito supermarkets had increased prices without justification. Exito has stores in Caracas and several other cities.

Chavez devalued the bolivar on Jan. 8 to boost government finances and revitalize the recession-hit economy, but risks boosting already high inflation.

Aware a price surge could anger his mostly poor supporters, Chavez ordered troops to monitor shopping districts. Authorities had already temporarily closed stores belonging to the supermarket chain on charges of price gouging.

The stores are run by Colombian retailer Alamcenes Exito IMI.CN, which belongs to Casino.

Chavez said legal reforms were under way to take over companies accused of speculation. He said those reforms will have to be finalized to complete the nationalization of Exito.
(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)


Venezuela is well along its way on the road to serfdom.  The republic has been replaced by a malevolent little empire.   Mr Chavez is once again playing his blame game.  He devalues the currency and then blames the evil supermarket for raising prices! 
Now Chavez needs soldiers to monitor those dangerous supermarkets! 
What is he afraid of, illegal shopping??
The poor people of Venezuela have been sold out by this Marxist.  There certainly are parallels with the situation in Ethiopia that we covered in an earlier post.  Feudalism Returns

There are also concerns that Mr. Obama may start down the same dark path as Chavez.  Ideologically, both are socialists, so, as Mr. Chavez demonstrates, once the nationalism direction has begun, it continues to grow until much of private enterprise becomes owned by a pathological state.
Remember GM?  Have we already contracted the Venezuelan Contagion? 
Or will we see the Genesis of National Socialism in the US?

   Photo courtesy: El Enigma