Socialism has failed time after time after time after time after time after time...
Caracas, July 22 - Venezuela, a traditional coffee exporter that boasts one of the best cups of java in South America, may have to import coffee for the first time ever this year or face shortages, industry experts said.
On-and-off food shortages for years have dogged the government of President Hugo Chavez, a former paratrooper who has nationalized several industries and expropriated land as part of his socialist revolution.
Critics point the finger at price and foreign exchange controls that have slowed investments in expansion and maintenance and eroded productivity. The government blames shortages on speculation by the private sector.
A shortage of milk and beef contributed to Chavez losing a referendum in 2007 that would have granted him vast new powers.
Last week, Agriculture and Land Minister Elias Jaua said that the shortage of coffee, rice and sugar was due to climatic reasons. Imported sugar would reach the domestic market in coming days and the government will announce a host of measures to ensure the coffee supply, he said.