The Dictator Who Stole Christmas

Raúl Stolk's piece for The Daily Beast. "He seizes toys to give them away in his own name, and prints so much money it’s worth nothing, then makes it disappear. The Grinch has nothing on Nicolás Maduro."

Yesterday, our own Raúl Stolk had a piece in The Daily Beast beautifully titled “In Venezuela, The Dictator Who Stole Christmas. It tells the gruesome story of how SUNDDE’s inhuman price controls, the official theft of Kreisel’s toys, and the Ionesco-worthy absurd that is our monetary “policy” have effectively destroyed this year’s holidays.

Says Raúl:

But the breaking point of this year’s measure, the moment of the big, bad, beautiful headline would be December 10, when Mr. Contreras and a band of National Guards seized 3.8 million toys from the Kreisel toy distributing company. A family-run business that has been selling toys in Venezuela for well over 20 years.

The local currency, once deemed Bolívar Fuerte (Strong Bolivar), plunged dramatically before the U.S. Dollar in just a month. By the end of October the parallel rate of exchange was 1,200 Bolivars per 1 US Dollar, and by December 1 some transactions were being closed at 4,500 Bolivars

The kicker:

The state media network came up with a clever way to wish Venezuelans a happy holiday, and replace Christmas with something else. One that mixes perfectly the notion of Navidad under chavismo: “¡Feliz Chavidad!” It proclaimed.

It’s a perfect summary of the hell on Earth that has been this December for the vast majority of Venezuelans. At least, thanks to Raúl and The Daily Beast, some of the world is finding out.

Carlos M. Egaña

Carlos is a Law and Liberal Arts student at Universidad Metropolitana, and a teacher of Philosophy, Entrepreneurship, and Public Speaking at Instituto Cumbres de Caracas. MetroMUNer (@MetroMUN) and VOXista (@voxistas). But really, he's just an overcompensating, failed singer-songwriter.