Video footage highlighted by journalist Alfons López Tena presents a truly incredible scene featuring dictatorial Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro literally dancing with other members of the political elite as his militarized police force brutally represses his own citizens in the streets, shooting tear gas, physically assaulting them and reportedly killing many, as huge armored vehicles move through the city.
Watch (video may include "sensitive material" warning that requires your approval to view):
Venezuela's dictator dancing in state TV while his police shoot tear gas, clash with protesters, kill them. Normalcypic.twitter.com/Gax2VveH7S
— Alfons López Tena (@alfonslopeztena) May 4, 2017 As one follower aptly pointed out, Maduro is clearly a student of history because he's doing his best imitation of another notorious tyrannical autocrat:
@timpastoor @alfonslopeztena Nero was first! pic.twitter.com/Je4SZSye3U
— Tering Nering (@TeringNering) May 4, 2017 If you haven't been keeping track of the economic and political upheaval playing out in Venezuela recently, the situation has reached dystopian nightmare levels. Despite sitting on the world's largest known oil reserves, the once wealthy country's economy has utterly collapsed as the inevitable result of socialist leader Hugo Chávez (president from February 1999 to March 2013) nationalizing more than 1,150 companies, including many banks, all public utilities, and, most notably, the entire oil industry. The darling of the left also handed out hundreds of billions to the poor, driving up the national debt and creating a culture of widespread dependency on the government.
The collapse of oil prices and Maduro's continuation of his predecessor's socialist policies have resulted in a tragic and increasingly dire situation. The Telegraph's Jason Mitchell provides some of the stark numbers:
The country ran out of toilet paper five years’ ago. During the past year, the average Venezuelan has not had enough to eat and has lost 19 pounds in weight. People are being forced to rummage through rubbish. They have even started to raid zoos and to eat giant anteaters and flamingos. Eight in ten medicines are not available. The minimum wage is 149,000 bolivars, the equivalent of £33 a month. The state pension is the same.
The country’s GDP collapsed by 19 per cent last year, imports are down 50 per cent, and inflation is running at more than 700 per cent.
At the heart of Venezuela’s economic chaos lies market distortions. Petrol is sold at less than 1p per litre, costing £12 billion in state subsidies. Price controls mean that it is unprofitable for small businesses to sell staple goods, creating shortages.
With almost all of the country's cash depending on the oil market, all it took was declining prices for the whole socialist dream to go up in flames. Now, in order to keep himself in power, Maduro is doing what Marxist leaders like him do best: crush their own people.