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The result? Chronic shortages of everything from oil to milk. A 24% inflation rate. A homicide rate that in 2011 clocked in at 67 per 100,000 people — nearly five times the rate in Mexico. Latin America's lowest growth in GDP per capita over the past decade, despite record-high oil prices. Constant devaluations. The diversion of an estimated $100 billion in recent years to a slush fund controlled exclusively by Mr. Chávez. Rolling blackouts. A credit rating on a par with Ghana's and Bolivia's. The steady degradation of the country's once formidable oil company, PdVSA.

Yeah, but it was better than expected.
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