After 10 years in power, Hugo Chavez is as blustery as ever. He’s predicted the end of “the evil capitalist mode,” told the IMF to “commit suicide,” and this week invited Dmitry Medvedev and a flotilla of Russian warships down for joint exercises. But beneath the bravado, Chavez is in trouble, the Financial Times reports, as cratering oil prices pummel his economy.
Rising oil prices have been the wind in Chavez’s sails, allowing him to spend lavishly on social “missions” and pull in voters. But those missions appear increasingly mismanaged, as have his government participation initiatives. At the same time, inflation is skyrocketing, the infrastructure crumbling and crime running wild. In the face of these problems, Chavez will likely do what he does best: Blame the US.