Birds of a Feather

As I noted last week, Hugo Chavez seized yet another chunk of Venezuela’s oil industry this weekend, since it is apparently much more economical for the government to steal private property than to fairly compensate its owners:

Troops were mobilised over the weekend to assist Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, in seizing the assets of some 60 oil service companies, after a law was approved last week that paves the way for the state to take increasing control over its all-important oil industry.

“To God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” said Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, as he presided over the expropriation of at least a dozen rigs, more than 30 oil terminals and some 300 boats.

“Today we also say: to the people what is the people’s,” the socialist leader said to roars of approval from red-clad supporters on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, the heartland of the nation’s oil production.

This move forms part of a broader assault against the private sector, which Mr Chávez has increasingly blamed as Venezuela slides into recession. Simultaneously he is engaging in what opposition leaders say is a campaign of persecution of his political foes.

Chavez always makes sure that what he does has the “Jesus seal of approval.” The man is clever. I’ve got to give him credit for that.

Rich Galen (via InstaPundit) makes a well-timed observation:

If the Obama administration can put the United Auto Workers on Chrysler’s board of directors, negotiate the terms of its bankruptcy, give a third of the company to Fiat and can even decide how much marketing it should do … does anyone see a functional difference between Hugo Chavez’ and Barack Obama’s views of private companies?

No. There doesn’t seem to be much of one.


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