The vanishing mirage

A few years ago, chavista apologists boasted about Venezuela’s vertiginous growth rates, bragging them about as Exhibit #1 when vouching for the success of chavenomics.

Those days are long gone.

Today, the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America published its latest report on the region’s economies. The section on Venezuela, though, reads more like an indictment.

Latin America as a whole will grow 6% in 2010, with political allies such as Paraguay (9.7%), Uruguay (9%), Argentina (8.4%), and Brazil (7.7%) leading the charge. These results are all the more impressive considering the lingering crisis in much of the Western world.

And Venezuela? It’s near the bottom of the class, mired in recession. Our economy will shrink by 1.6% this year.

Look, there is no denying that Venezuela came out of the 2003 oil strike posting remarkable growth rates that did a lot to temporarily alleviate poverty. But the notion that chavenomics was a long-term solution to Venezuela’s ills was a mirage, as some of the more honest pro-Chavez bloggers have discovered.

More importantly, chavistas are left making the very flimsy argument that chavismo is still alleviating poverty in spite of the recession.

That bucket will simply refuse to hold any water. As any economist will tell you, you can’t solve the problem of poverty without growth.

We have no reliable poverty statistics for 2010 yet, but you can be sure that the lingering recession will have a dramatic effect on poverty levels in our country.

It was only a matter of time before the realities of chavenomics caught up with the country. Let’s see chavista apologists try and spin their way out of this one.

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