Inflation has been a huge problem in Venezuela as it has been in the rest of Latin America. Right now many in the opposition media are chanting on a daily basis that inflation is increasing the cost of foods. They’re claiming that now there is more difficulty getting a hold of a larger variety of foods. They claim that Chavez is destroying the country through this supposed massive increase in inflation. In reality, simple empirical reality, food has actually gotten more affordable.
What the people of Venezuela are saying (not what US funded media is saying) is that:
“Before [the Chavez government] there was a greater variety of food on the shelves, but few could afford it. Now we can afford the food we need, but there’s a little less variety.”
“There has always been milk scarcity, and it was bought on the black market. Most of it came from New Zealand [where as today, most milk is locally produced], and there was often meat and egg scarcity, a lot of contraband food from Colombia and Ecuador. It was very expensive and the prices in the supermarkets were so high, we were pretty screwed.”
This is a very typical bourgeois position, a nice big red herring. Under a free market system basic foods were extremely expensive, many could not afford them. So a socialist system is put in its place alleviating the suffering caused by hunger. The result of this is a smaller selection of foods. The wealthy elite then go into the media crying that they can’t get their really expensive privileged foods calling the situation terrible, claiming that there’s a shortage. When confronted with the fact that food is now more available to people who couldn’t afford it, complain there isn’t as wide a variety calling the system dysfunctional.
These wealthy elite owned media outlets (often US funded) complain about a “lack” of consumer choice, but never complained about the high cost of food. In fact the hunger suffered by working class and the poor were completely ignored. A token mention of it was made, but there was no criticism of it.
This situation was only addressed by the Chavez government and Bolivarian socialism. Decades of capitalist governments left people to starve and frequently made it worse. Some may point to the Democratic Action Party and the food “operatives” it used to run, selling foods in a similar manner to how the Chavez government does now. However they forget to mention that you needed a Democratic Action membership card in order to buy food and the quality was much less.
The Mercal subsidized shops have affordable food with less of a consumer choice. These people now able to afford food don’t really care about having vast amounts of consumer choice. They are quite happy with being able to eat. The accomplishment of socialism in Venezuela has been an increase in calorie intake from 2,200 in 1998 to over 2,700 calories in 2008, exceeding than the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recommendation of 2,300 calories per day, and malnutrition dropped from 21% in 1998 to 6% in 2007.
That is what socialism has achieved in Venezuela, not the lies spewed by US funded garbage. This is the red herring the bourgeois spout, whine about consumer choice while the poor finally get to eat.