Index Of Economic Freedom

The 2006 report on the world's best and worst as far as economic freedom is concerned. Below are the bottom-dwellers. Notice that Hugo Chavez's Venezuela is right smack dab in the middle of the worst of the worst:

Korea, North

"In the wake of a failed—and hotly contested—2004 recall attempt, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías has clamped down on civil liberties, property rights, and Western foreign oil companies that are still operating in this impoverished South American country. He has decreed new laws that define public protest as a crime, has imposed media restrictions that encourage substantial self-censorship under threat of operating license confiscation, and has begun to seize large rural farms and ranches that he claims are not sufficiently productive. Energy and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramírez announced in May 2005 that income taxes on the handful of foreign firms pumping oil in Venezuela would be raised to 50 percent from 34 percent, retroactive to 2001. Energy experts reportedly believe that Venezuela is shipping less oil than it claims as a result of lagging maintenance at the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., the internal resources of which allegedly have been sapped by corruption, mismanagement, and the diversion of profits to social programs and government officials. To the alarm of neighbors and internal opponents, the government has announced the purchase of 100,000 assault rifles, a number of Russian combat helicopters, and possibly MiG-29 jet fighters, as well as a reserve-force buildup to some 1.5 million cadres. Venezuela's fiscal burden of government is 0.7 point worse this year. As a result, its overall score is 0.07 point worse this year."

And we're supposed to use Chavez's Venezuela as an example of a successful socialist dictatorial society?


Paul Hue said...

Now I'm getting some facts about Hugo; they are not good. I have reserved judgement on him, though I endorsed his repayment to the world bank (as reported by Nadir).

Tom Philpott said...

wonder how many protestors were arrested during Chavez's campaign, as compared to the Banana Republic-style tactics used by NY and federal cops at the 2004 GOP convention.