CARACAS, Venezuela – In Venezuela, elections loom, and class issues have taken center stage. While news outlets and businesses decried looting by Venezuelan citizens, President Nicolas Maduro hailed the crowds as early Black Friday shoppers. “It’s exactly the kind of jumpstart the economy needs,” Maduro said, expressing solidarity with “proactive bargain hunters.”
After reports of unfair price hikes and looting, Maduro deployed troops to ensure fair prices in Venezuela’s electronics chain stores. The government has referred to the conflict as a class-driven “economic war,” and Vice-President Jorge Arreaza has sworn to “protect the people from bourgeois parasites.” While tensions rise between business owners and the poor, Maduro has parried reports of looting as “excited crowds reaching for hot holiday deals.”
“I don’t see what they’re complaining about,” Maduro said during a televised debate. “Business owners in other countries would kill to see holiday shoppers this enthusiastic. If anything, these aggressive shoppers are proof that you don’t need to embrace cutthroat capitalism to build a base of eager consumers. The people have spoken: they will not be exploited, and they will not be denied killer holiday savings.”
The opposition has accused the president of being under Cuba’s thumb and of continuing failed policies from the Chavez administration. Maduro turned the “holiday bonanza” against his critics, and praised shoppers for finding a middle ground between the charitable spirit of populists and the capitalistic impulses of business owners. “It’s important to remember that we’re all human, from the noble champions of the people to the piggish capitalist devils.”
Maduro then turned his attention to Venezuela’s upcoming December mayoral elections. “In the season of giving, it’s important to give us your votes. That’s all we want for Christmas.” The Caracas Youth choir then performed a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, edited to “remove all indulgent bourgeois propaganda,” which lasted for only one verse.
The conference came to an early close after the theft of the camera and broadcasting equipment. Due to high domestic prices, Maduro’s administration is importing replacements.