Venezuela’s troubles have been well documented. Shortages of things like toilet paper and beer (which may be the only thing that can make socialism tolerable) have made news throughout the world. There’s no argument that the South American nation is in a tough spot. However, any sympathy the government might have earned from many people just went out the window.
A Venezuelan ministry last week announced Resolution No. 9855, which calls for the establishment of a “transitory labor regime” in order to relaunch the agricultural and food sector. The decree says that the government must do what is “necessary to achieve strategic levels of self-sufficiency,” and states that workers can be forcefully moved from their jobs to work in farm fields or elsewhere in the agricultural sector for periods of 60 days.
“Trying to tackle Venezuela’s severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, in a statement.
The law is vague in laying out exactly which workers can be forced to work in the farm sector, though it indicates that both public- and private-sector workers may be included. While working in food production, workers will be suspended from their regular jobs. They’ll be allowed to return to their original jobs upon the completion of service.
To make matters worse, the Venezuelan government has decided to force people to work on farms.
In a capitalist society people ultimately have a choice. If they don’t want to work for company X anymore, they can find another job or just resign. In practice, this might not be much of a choice, but it still exists. No one is forcing anyone to do any kind of work.
Venezuela, however, is going a different direction. By taking people out of their jobs and throwing them into manual farm labor, all that will really grow is resentment which in turn can lead to bloodshed.
While it’s only 60 days (allegedly) there doesn’t appear to be any mechanism that makes this a “one and done” kind of situation. Theoretically, the entire nation can be cycled through this process multiple times.
Meanwhile, people are dying and Venezuela refuses to accept any help from the outside. While this might be noble in some cases, it’s not when your country is still spiraling down the drain.