Deadly food riots have exploded in several Venezuelan cities this year, and Maduro in recent weeks has faced rowdy pot-banging protests. In July, he gave Venezuela’s defense minister extraordinary powers to oversee the government’s elaborate system of price controls and consumer regulations, including the fingerprint scanners used to ensure that Venezuelan shoppers don’t exceed their purchase limits.
That’s a great idea to achieve a more equal society. Have limits on how much food someone can purchase so everyone is equal.
In a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates, and where carjackings, muggings and kidnappings often go unpunished, the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained at least 9,400 people this year for allegedly breaking laws against hoarding, reselling goods or attempting to stand in line outside normal store hours, according to the Venezuelan human rights organisation Movimiento Vinotinto. Many were taken into custody by the Venezuelan troops assigned to police the checkout aisles and the long lines snaking from supermarkets.
Ismary Quiros, a deputy director at Movimiento Vinotinto, said the law doesn’t define exactly what constitutes illegal hoarding, smuggling, or reselling goods. She said the government’s real goal is to find scapegoats for the scarcities.
Yes arrest those scabs who try and purchase food beyond their government allocated quota. How dare they.
Clara Ramírez, an attorney in the state of Táchira along the border with Colombia, said since the beginning of the year she has represented six clients arrested after allegedly buying goods for resale on the black market. “All of them were normal people, men and women with families who were just looking for food to feed their children,” she said.
How dare they put their selfish needs ahead of those of the community.
Raymar Tona, 34, was arrested on a Friday in May while waiting to buy diapers for her baby.
A national guardsman pulled her out of the supermarket line, burrowed into her purse and found 10,000 Venezuelan bolivares, she said. In the past, it would have been a lot of cash, but in today’s Venezuela, which has the world’s highest inflation rate, her bank notes added up to about US$10.
“It was my salary for two weeks,” said Tona, a receptionist at a medical clinic. She was accused of selling spots in line, a common practice.
The scum – line jumping.
Isaura Pérez, 66, said she travelled three hours to Barquisimeto in July to deliver hard-to-find drugs for her 38-year-old diabetic cousin, Georgina Delgado, who was in intensive care. National guard troops arrested Pérez at the hospital entrance for allegedly trafficking medical supplies, she said.
The drugs were confiscated by the soldiers, Pérez said. Her cousin Delgado died three days later.
But he died equal!
It is fascinating to see a country respond to their policy failures by doubling down and bringing in more and more policies that just make the situation worse. Venezuela is going to be a case study for the text books for generations.
The sad thing is so many people will starve and die, in providing this lesson.