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Populism will eventually lead to dictatorship

Posted April. 04, 2017 07:07,   

Updated April. 04, 2017 07:14


Four bakers who were making croissants and brownies in Venezuela were arrested last month. While Venezuela allows 90 percent of wheat to be used to make cheap bread such as baguettes, these people violated the rules and baked high-end bread. Due to inflation that surged to over 400 percent in 2016, Venezuelan banknotes are used as toilet papers and even burglars don't steal them. People in the country have lost weight due to food shortage, which has led to coining of the term "Maduro diet" adopted from President Nicolas Maduro.

Previously called the paradise of socialism of Latin America, Venezuela has fallen to a miserable state, which is the legacy of the leftist populism of former President Hugo Chavez. Having elected president thanks to the public's overwhelming support in 1998, Chavez nationalized oil companies to monopolize crude oil sales and injected the money earned from this into free welfare. People believed they could earn money by digging the land, and Chaves became the hero of Latin America following Che Guevara. However, the golden age short-lived and ended in 2013 with the plunge in oil prices.

Vice President Maduro, who was a labor activist, was nominated to succeed Chavez in 2013 just before Chavez died of cancer and was elected president soon. Under Maduro, Venezuela's economy turned for a worse. While economic growth of minus 10 percent continued, daily necessecities were running out due to price controls, and public order collapsed. The public raged, and at the 2015 general elections, the public chose Democratic Unity Roundtable, a center-right and solidarity of opposition parties.

Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled on March 30 it would take over the powers of congress. This means that the Supreme Court will allow its designated institutions or the constitition committee to make law, on behalf of the congress that the opposition parties dominate. As criticism mounted both domestically and externally that it has infringed on the separation of legal, administrative, and judicial powers, President Maduro said he requested the nullification of the ruling, but it remains to be seen how things will turn out. When the nation's top leader ignores constitutionalism by relying on populism, judiciary has the responsibility of check and balance. When a democratic system fails to function properly, populism will eventually lead to a dictatorship system, and this is starkly proved by the state Venezuala is currently in.