Wearing red T-shirts from Hugo Chavez’ socialist party, and encouraged by the Venezuelan strongman himself, organized “squatters” seized 20 “unused” private properties in a suburb of Caracas in an attempt to keep angry slum dwellers from turning against him as the middle class is already doing.
"The fundamental goal of socialism is to satisfy human needs … the needs of all, equally, without privilege," Chávez, who sent 1,600 troops to seize 47 private farms, told Venezuelans during one of his mandated national television broadcasts.
In 2009. Chavez won a referendum that will allow him to run for a sixth term in 2012 in his ongoing attempt to become “president for life,” but Venezuelans are getting restive under his socialist policies, which have destroyed the country’s economy.
After promising in 2005 to build 120,000 new housing units to address a 2 million unit shortage, Chavez has delivered only about a third of that amount, while 27 percent inflation – the highest in Latin America – has further eroded the living standards of poor Venezuelans during the past 12 months. Last year’s devastating floods displaced thousands more families.
Instead of blaming his socialist anti-business policies for creating a failing economy that has been characterized by the Heritage Foundation as one of the most “restricted” in the world, Chavez took a well-worn page from the Marxist-Leninst playbook by attacking the “rich” and forcing a five-star Marriott Hotel to house and feed 60 displaced families.
He also threatened to resettle thousands of poor families on the Caracas County Club greens, but had to backpedal when Jhonattan Vegas became the first Venezuelan to win PGA’s Bob Hope Classic, becoming a Latin American version of Tiger Woods.
In a self-parody, Chavez insisted that he was “not an enemy of golf” and that he “simply criticized” rich people for building their golf courses too close to the slums.