Just before the late legislative elections in Venezuela, October 2013, President Nicolas Maduro, with his lead evaporating in the polls, promoted the massive sacking of electronics stores. Under the protection of the National Guard, thousands of Venezuelans in different cities, especially in Valencia, went into these stores, mostly owned by Arab merchants who had been supporters of the government, and walked away with TV sets and other goodies. As expected, this brutal decision increased his votes among the poor and allowed him (so the government says) to obtain 200,000 votes more than the opposition candidate, Mr. Henrique Capriles, out of the total 14 million votes counted.
This tactic was a replica of the one used by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. In 2007 Zimbabweans were shopping like there's no tomorrow. With police patrolling the aisles of Harare's electrical shops to enforce massive government-ordered price cuts, the widescreen TVs were the first things to go, for as little as £20.
Today, under orders from President Maduro, jet fighters are flying low over the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas in an attempt to terrorize the population, just as in October, 2013 military jets had flown over Cairo to intimidate protesters.
The current government script is being copied, on Cuban orders, from intimidation tactics tried in other dictatorial regimes where similar situations have existed.
The poor Maduro is not very original, just a copycat. And he talks with a bird!