As President Nicolas Maduro declared a state of emergency and hinted at the state seizure of factories, Venezuela appears to be descending into chaos, with US intelligence officials warning that “you can hear the ice cracking”. And the dangerous situation is unfolding amid unrest on the streets and a worsening public health crisis.
Moses Naim and Francisco Toro, writing in The Atlantic last week, see a bleak immediate outlook:
When a state is in the process of collapse, dimensions of decay feed back on each other in an intractable cycle. Populist giveaways, for example, have fed the country’s ruinous flirtation with hyperinflation; the International Monetary Fund now projects that prices will rise by 720 percent this year and 2,200 percent in 2017. The government virtually gives away gasoline for free, even after having raised the price earlier this year. As a result of this and similar policies, the state is chronically short of funds, forced to print ever more money to finance its spending. Consumers, flush with cash and chasing a dwindling supply of goods, are caught in an inflationary spiral.
The Brexit referendum campaign continues to heat up on both sides.
In other global statesmanship news…
England manager Roy Hodgson announces his Euro 2016 squad this morning.