Political affairs never cease to amaze me. Especially, when fine beverages are involved.
Venezuela’s extreme leftist leader, President Hugo Chavez, is hell bent on a mission to completely nationalize the country’s economy. In his economic war on Venezuela’s “stateless bourgeoisie”, Chavez has already nationalized dozens of companies, including multi-billion dollar oil projects.
At the moment, Chavez’s main target is Venezuela’s largest privately owned company and biggest beer producer, Empresas Polar. From seizing warehouses and products to threatening to raise taxes on beer, Chavez seems to be doing everything in his power to force Mendoza into the de-privatization of Empresas Polar. Last week, Chavez ordered the military to crack down on businesses selling beer — especially unlicensed retailers and people selling beer out of trucks.
“Armed forces: Any truck that goes around selling beer in the barrios, they must be caught,” Chavez said in a televised speech Thursday night. “And not only trucks. There are liquor stores open at any hour where people can go and buy liquor. What is that? Is this a brothel or something? Venezuela is no brothel!” — Associated Press
Needless to say, Chavez’s threats and taunts towards Empresas Polar’s billionaire president, Lorenzo Mendoza, have been rather entertaining to read. Chavez has even gone as far as to publicly accuse Mendoza of wanting to become the next President of Venezuela.
“Lorenzo Mendoza wants to be president, and the Yankees are guiding him,” Chavez said. “Polar depends on whether or not I sell it corn.” — Reuters.com
Mendoza has neither confirmed nor denied the claims and Empresas Polar has yet to respond to Chavez’s threats.
Who will win the battle of the beer? Chavez seems to think the cards are in his favor: “Let’s see who lasts longer – you, with your Polar and your riches, or me, with my people and the dignity of a revolutionary soldier.” — BBC News
But only time will tell.