5 Ways Hugo Chavez Has Destroyed the Venezuelan Economy

3. The Venezuelan currency is a mess.

The new currency, the Bolivar fuerte, is anything but strong. The Bolivar fuerte has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since it was launched in 2008. Many analysts expect Venezuela will have to go through a painful devaluation sometime this year or next. This will further reduce the value of wages and sharply increase the costs of imports of basic staple goods. Life will get tougher for most Venezuelans but Chavez probably won't be around to see it.

4. Prices in Venezuela have gone up by 23 percent a year for more than ten years.

Inflation in Venezuela has averaged 23 percent during 1999-2011 compared to a Latin American average of 4.6 percent. Imagine what life would be like if the price of groceries went up 23 percent every year. This craziness combined with stringent price controls has completely distorted the economy, creating black markets and shortages. In 2012 Venezuela will again have one of the highest inflation rates in the world.

5.Under Chavez Venezuela has become one of the most violent countries on the planet.

The murder rate per 100,000 citizens has risen from 25 in 1999 to 45.1 in 2011. This is not an economic stat per se but violence has an economic impact. It is more challenging and dangerous than ever to do business and go to work in Venezuela. When you consider these points, it's hard to call the economic legacy of Chavez and his band of 21st Century Socialists a good one.

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