Another example of how socialism works in practice (Bloomberg):
Yes, he steered a bunch of money to the poor, and did lots of things that drove both labor unions and business leaders nuts. The head of the country’s chamber of commerce even replaced him as president in a 2002 coup attempt that failed after two days. But as of 2005 Venezuela still had the highest per-capita gross domestic product in Latin America (adjusted for purchasing-power parity), and no trouble paying its bills. Chavez supporters could even point to some indicators that poverty and malnutrition were on the decline.
Now, of course, Venezuela’s economy is a disaster. The government stopped releasing regular economic statistics in December, but one official told Bloomberg News the annual inflation rate is 150 percent. The latest estimate from the Troubled Currencies Project run by Steve H. Hanke of the Cato Institute and Johns Hopkins, meanwhile, is that inflation is really 808 percent. Food shortages have become a problem, a debt default seems almost certain, and a complete economic collapse isn’t out of the question. By 2014 Venezuela had, by the World Bank’s PPP-adjusted accounting, slid to fifth place in per-capita GDP in Latin America, behind Chile, Cuba (!), Uruguay and Panama. Mexico and Brazil may pass it this year, despite their own economic troubles. Even next-door neighbor Colombia is getting within striking distance.