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Crisis in Caracas as Venezuela's economy falters

What do you do if you’re the leader of a country facing rampant inflation, shortages of basic goods such as milk and toilet paper, a dollar shortage and sinking popularity that threatens to drag down your party in upcoming local elections?

If you are Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, you declare war and send in the troops. Maduro, in November, deployed the national guard to “occupy” a popular electronics retail chain, Daka, and other shops around the country and forced them to sell appliances, TVs and other goods at cut-rate prices. For good measure, around 100 shopkeepers and business owners were jailed. “I broke the spine of the economic war and the economic coup they were planning. We have more than 100 of the bourgeoisie behind bars,” Maduro said. The crackdown was crass electioneering. By hosting a nation-wide fire sale and shifting the blame for the country’s economic problems onto the private sector, Maduro hoped t

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