From Socialism to Slavery: Venezuela’s new “forced labor” law

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans crossed the border into Colombia on Sunday, July 17, to hunt for food and medicine that are in short supply at home. It's the second weekend in a row that Venezuela’s government has opened the long-closed border connecting Venezuela to Colombia. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans crossed the border into Colombia on Sunday, July 17, to hunt for food and medicine that are in short supply at home. It’s the second weekend in a row that Venezuela’s government has opened the long-closed border connecting Venezuela to Colombia. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

As Venezuela’s economy continues to falter, the government turns to an old crutch of tyranny: slavery.

A “forced labor” law to combat the food crisis in the country will allow the labor ministry to force citizens to work the fields, according to Vice. Unfortunate citizens will “join a government drive aimed at increasing food production” that could last up to 120 days if the government determines it’s necessary.

To combat food shortages, forced labor brigades aren’t the way to do it. Earlier in July, 100,000 Venezuelans crossed the Colombian border to find food and medicine unavailable in Venezuela. The government has stifled the market so as to make it ineffective for basic goods. The best they can do is go on the black market.

Annabella Abadi and Carlos Garcia, writing for the Caracas Chronicles, called the “bizarre” law “Our Great Leap Forward?” The law is unambiguous: “If you are physically and mentally able to work in the fields, the government can ask —or better yet, order— your company to send you to work out there,” they noted.

The situation in the country has worsened. Food riots, mass lootings, and lynchings have been reported across the country in many major cities. Committees that were formed to distribute and divide food “has deepened the general dissatisfaction and worsened the supply problem, as people consider them inefficient and discriminatory,” Javier Liendo wrote for the Chronicles.

Venezuela has been a utopian fantasy for Western socialists blind to reality and an occasional punchline for late-night comedy shows, but the economic and social disintegration of the country has only grown worse.


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