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Looting in Venezuelan Market Leaves One Dead, Dozens Hurt

  • Reuters

Venezuelan National Guard members prepare to deal with crowds after a supermarket was looted in the San Felix portion of Ciudad Guayana in the state of Bolivar, July 31, 2015.

Venezuelan National Guard members prepare to deal with crowds after a supermarket was looted in the San Felix portion of Ciudad Guayana in the state of Bolivar, July 31, 2015.

One person was killed and dozens were detained following looting of a supermarket in Venezuela's southeastern city of Ciudad Guayana, the governor of Bolivar state said Friday, amid the ongoing food shortages in the recession-hit OPEC nation.

Shoppers seeking scarce consumer staples including milk, rice and flour broke into a supermarket warehouse Friday morning, leading businesses in the area to shut their doors, local newspaper Correo del Caroni reported.

Bolivar State Governor Francisco Rangel of the ruling Socialist Party said the looting was politically motivated.

"A group of armed motorcyclists arrived and said they were going to loot certain establishments," he told Venezuelan television station Globovision. "I'm sure it wasn't spontaneous but rather planned with a political motive."

Gustavo Patinez, 21, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, Correo del Caroni reported, adding that 60 people were detained.

Shops in the surrounding area were either shuttered or protected by national guardsmen and police.

Low oil prices and an increasingly dysfunctional set of currency and price controls have spurred shortages of consumer goods and caused tempers to flare in supermarket lines across the country.

President Nicolas Maduro blames opposition leaders and businesses, saying they are waging an "economic war" against his government by raising prices and hoarding goods.

Critics say the problems are the result of a failing state-led economic model.

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