There are now reports of severe food shortages in Venezuela, including milk, bread, sugar, poultry, dairy products and cooking oil. Vice President Nicolás Maduro—running the country in the absence of ailing President Hugo Chávez—has threatened Venezuela's businessmen with unspecified punishment for "hoarding food." Last week the government devalued the nation's currency, bringing even more misery to consumers.
None of this should be surprising. Shortages are inevitable when socialist governments interfere with free markets through price and other controls. Then government officials blame the growers, manufacturers, distributors or retailers that the government itself is bankrupting.