Socialism & Coffee
“We’ve had enough of this! We must do the same with all companies that behave this way,” thundered the socialist leader. “We are going to continue nationalising monopolies to turn them into productive businesses in the hands of the workers, the people, the revolution.”
But analysts say many of the problems confronting coffee production – and the private sector in general – are caused by precisely this kind of government intervention. Such expropriations, as well as an aggressive land reform campaign, have generated a climate of uncertainty that has damped investment.
Price controls have made matters worse. Increasing amounts of coffee – and many other goods – are smuggled abroad to be sold at international prices. “Of course there’s contraband. What does Chvez expect when you can sell coffee in Colombia for double or triple the price?” said one coffee producer, who requested anonymity.