The fate of Lácteos Los Andes


Lácteos-los-AndesMore than five years ago, Hugo Chávez announced that the government bought private dairy company Lácteos Los Andes, making it part of his “food sovereignty” plan, along with other companies like coffee maker Fama de America.

For years, it was presented to the public as an example of what socialism can achieve. Its products even had attached a special heart-shaped logo to prove it.

Well, fast forward to the present and workers of Lácteos Los Andes are denouncing that the company is bankrupt, with its numbers deep in the red for the last three years. They also staged a protest last week in downtown Caracas to demand better working conditions.

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    • To be fair, socialism like they run up in Scandanavia works well. This idiotic, half baked, radical, poorly planned, incompetently run socialism is a breed of its own.

      • that is not socialism, that is still free market. They just have insanely high taxes which they invest in education, health, and, ehm, *SCIENCE*

        • They have a huge welfare state, and a free market with as little bureaucracy as possible for goods, services and labor too.

          You work at some place. Your employer pays you a salary. You have to be very productive else they can just let you go. The government taxes a huge chunk out of that salary, progressively. An oodle for the municipality, another oodle for health, another towards welfare. It also taxes sales like hell.

          When you get sick, have a child, get old or get unemployed, it’s the government that steps in and pays a pension, medical leave, unemployment money, for you and you yourself paid a lot of taxes for it. You also get libraries and all kinds of cultural offers.
          You can join a union (or labor association) to get advice, legal representation, training, education, an unemployment insurance and fund, and pension plans to supplement the government’s. But unions and labor associations are strictly private. They mostly have agreed with employers on every little tiny detail including salaries, but those are guidelines, not mandatory, there might not be a minimum salary. The government rarely steps in, as everything is done by consensus.

        • High taxes to invest in education, health and science is what some people call socialism, even if the money is coming from a capitalist system.

          Some people believe the government shouldn’t invest in education, health and science. They say that when the government taxes you, it is really stealing from you, and they think that’s wrong, and prefer a society where everybody pays directly by for what they want, and those who can’t pay for what they want, well… screw them! Those who believe this are usually referred to as (extreme) right wingers.

          Finally there are those who believe the government’s obligation is to invest in education, health and science, but the money shouldn’t come from a capitalist system. They believe there shouldn’t be a free market, and that the government should own all means of production. As long as this is so, they usually don’t mind if in the process the government becomes totalitarian and authoritarian, or if the economy becomes highly inefficient. Those who believe this are usually referred to as communists.

          We have quite a few of each one of these kind of people commenting in this blog.

          • Note: In the second paragraph you can change the verb “want” for the verb “need”, and they (the right wingers) still believe that.

          • Most of the people in the first group are mostly who haven’t read any primary sources on “socialism” but know about what they understand as socialism from hearsay. They are also mostly living in English-speaking countries.

            “High taxes” is a relative notion. For some, 1% taxes is way too much. For some, it would be 10% or 50%. Curiously, a lot of those who would like low taxes (not all) do favour a lot of spending in weapons.

            Then you have to make a difference between taxes: from corporate to income taxes and so on. In some cases, the US has higher corporate taxes than many countries US Americans will call “socialist”.

            In general we fairly say every system is hybrid with more of this or that.

            Also notice that there is virtually no free market and no country has become
            a developed nation through some kind of “free market policy” but a regulation of what products it wants to have “freedom” for. Protectionism is the recipe for failure as already Spain found out. But opening up markets as free market evangelists preach lead to absolute collapse, as in the late part of the Tokugawa period in Japan.


            Basically with the Meiji period Japan did what the US and Britain did before: open up where suitable, close up where needed. The same thing is what China does right now.

            In this way, the US and Britain but also the whole of Western Europe have always, absolutely always, very protective with one or the other sector…that was so in the XIX century, in the XX, before and now.

            The real discussion is in the details.

            It is a tragedy that Latin America, which is basically a feudal society (most so Venezuela) is full of people who are either naive believers of a really full free-trade system or dinosaurs who seem to have got their education either at the Lomonosov University during Brezhnev times or at the cafeteria of the Escuela de Sociología of the UCV.

          • Indeed, it is a tragedy. And the tragedy is not only that we are full of these people, but that some of them get to power.

          • Yes, I guess the more accurate term is “Social Democracy.” But I would say they are still Socialist countries, with the primacy of free markets but where the government plays a heavy role in regulation, social justice, and social welfare. I guess most advanced countries are mixed models, all falling along a spectrum somewhere or another.

            Some Chavistas seem to believe in Socialism with a capital S, or more accurately communism. Coincidentally, they are some of the same ones who think the CIA is behind every blackout or food shortage

  1. Al escuchar la inconfundible voz de Porfirio Torres al final del video propagandístico de Lácteos Los Andes, y considerando los reclamos actuales de sus trabajadores por la ruina a que los ha llevado su propia gerencia “socialista”, pensé que en lugar de decir “la lucha por la independencia continua” podría exclamar mas bien “nuestro insólito universo”…

  2. This kinda reminds you of the many 20th century examples of overly exuberant governments taking over the private forms of food production in their countries, and then failing miserably. Lenin quickly discovered that confiscating land from the kulaks led to widespread famine throughout the country. Only a dramatic reversal in the form of the NEP saved him. Throughout the ‘The Great Leap Forward’ millions of Chinese were encouraged to plant their own crops and build their own iron smelters in their backyards. This led to the single greatest loss of human life, in human history. Ponder that for a moment. So, the boys/girls in Miralfores thought it would be a good idea to take over a dairy company? It didn’t work out now, did it? Bankrupt? You betcha. On strike? Why not? They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work. A thought. Just imagine had some screwball at Miraflores decided to grab Polar as well. With all the means of food production now within the state, the lessons of history has taught us that this would eventually lead to a massive food shortage throughout Venezuela. This despite the fact, (despite!) that Venezuela sits on some of the richest farmland in all of South America. So, the silly Chavistas took over a dairy producer, everyone’s on strike and the company’s losing money hand over fist. Gasp! How can this be?

  3. In the 1980’s Venezuela subsidized the imports of dairy products to assure the nutrition of children and families. Venezuelan dairy farmers also received subsidies and preferred terms on loans. (My memory is not perfect but I recall that each farm received up to $25,000 annually)

    Now under socialism, the government creates shortages by damaging domestic production and expects El Pueblo to believe this is the best policy for all of Venezuela. If Maduro moved into a rancho with 4 children, no job, no security, no Louis Vitton luggage for a few years then maybe he wouldn’t support socialismo.

  4. El imperio, los especuladores, la 4ta, el capitalismo, la CIA, el FBI, el niño, la iguana, el rabipelao y Jaime Bayly, there, I just saved the Yoyos, Viva Maduros and GACS of this forum a ton of time.

  5. Venezuelans should write a best seller book called: “How to Party Away your country and wake up with a mammoth Hang-over” o “Como farrearse el pais y despertar con un raton (resaca, mona) monumental”

      • There you are… with an even more pathetic excuse than last time.

        Yes, I’m sure these workers are demonstrating for “unsubstantiated” reasons. Just like the cries of opposition observers being forced out are unsubstantiated. These workers are all just stupid, confused and victims of a CIA operation, everything is just peachy at Lacteos Los Andes. Just wait for Venezuela Analysis to get on this, they will explain it all.

        • You seem mad?

          Workers are not accountants so I doubt what they say is substantiated.

          You are grasping at straws, repeating hearsay as fact, but at least the fraud fantasy is going away.

          • So workers are not capable of understanding accounts? Need some goverment elite to tell them what’s what? Sounds about right from a patronizing Chavista. You’ll fit right in with Get a Clue and all the rest.

  6. Bern : dont forget that the trolls are basically under hire to attack those things that ´matter to their masters , the status of state controlled industries or their workers does not matter to them , hence their silence . See how lame Shames intervention is , long on insult and absurdly short on substance . Trolls only intervene where a topic has a direct political implication !!


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