Venezuelan inflation rate now at 40,000%
A researcher at John Hopkins who has been tracking prices in Venezuela for two decades, says that the inflation rate has topped 40,000% for the first time.
No, that's not a printing error. The annualized inflation rate for Venezuela is, according to Steve Hanke, 41,838%.
Venezuela's government has largely stopped reporting economic data, including internal measures of inflation. The Central Bank of Venezuela, which did not immediately respond to request for comment, has not independently released inflation figures in at least a year.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has passed blame for the roiled economy onto others, including opposition activists and officials in Washington. At a campaign rally in May, he blamed hyperinflation on "criminal mafias."
But economists point out that Maduro runs the unorthodox policies they say have pushed the country into economic crisis. The socialist leader has repeatedly refused international aid to Venezuela.
"It's internal," Hanke said. "Government spending continues to accelerate and the sources of revenue start drying up."
Can you imagine living in a country with an inflation rate of 40,000%?
But economists and activists say hyperinflation's presence now is clear. A recent university study found that about 90% of civilians were living in poverty last year and most of those surveyed had lost an average of 25 pounds in body weight.
"The hyperinflation is devastating the economy," said Andres Abadia, a senior economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. He expects the economy to contract in 2018, for a fifth consecutive year, and sees no turnaround in the near-term.
Abadia said Venezuela is a "disaster area" and that as long as Maduro is in power, the economy will "continue to collapse." But Maduro reaffirmed a tight grip on power last month, as he easily won another six-year term in what was widely condemned as a fraudulent election.
I would like to feel pity for the Venezuelan people and on one level, I do. No one should have to suffer like this because of a crazy, incompetent government.
But Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, were both originally elected by a landslide in a more or less legitimate election. There was no doubt that Chavez and Maduro received a large majority of votes from Venezuelan citizens. So, in effect, the people have only themselves to blame for their dire predicament.
Changing that predicament has proved to be impossible. The opposition has been cowed into near submission and despite huge protests against the regime, the people have been unable to dislodge the tyrant Maduro who leans heavily on Cubans in his government for security and support.
So, for the present, the people of Venezuela must suffer. With the high command of the military staffed by Maduro loyalists, a military coup (at least from the very top) doesn't appear to be in the cards.
Monica Showalter adds:
No, they weren't more or less legitimate elections. The evidence has been heavy for electoral fraud since 2004, back when Jimmy Carter declared the recall referendum against Hugo Chavez's awful regime 'free and fair' and assured that except for what went on in the totalization room, they could confirm it themselves. Such jackasses. When a leader is so bad he triggers gargantuan protests, a military coup d'etat attempt, and enough signatures for a full recall referendum, you know things have gotten bad, and that was back in 2004. Every election since then has been even more fraud-tainted than the last, with Smartmatic, the electronic voting machine company running these 'elections,' finally admitting there have been problems with how the votes were tallied and called its involvement in Venezuela's elections its worst mistake around the time it pulled out. The "election" of Nicolas Maduro back in 2013 was the fraudiest one of them all, except for his reelection. He wasn't even legally allowed to run. That he 'won' is utter rubbish and his re-election was so bad only a few rogue states recognize it. Not even Brazil or the European Union recognize this one as legitimate, let alone the U.S., because it utterly reeks of fraud. Commie regimes, from Cuba, to Nicaragua to Venezuela have always cheated on elections. Communist socialists have no alliance to any state or to any rule of law - their sole loyalty is to the ideological party. So, for them, it's natural that they cheat in elections. You know, by any means necessary, as the Weathermen used to say. It's what they do.