News / Americas

Venezuelan State Considers System to Limit Food Purchases

Women leave state-run supermarket 'Bicentenario' after shopping in Caracas June 4, 2013Women leave state-run supermarket 'Bicentenario' after shopping in Caracas June 4, 2013
x
Women leave state-run supermarket 'Bicentenario' after shopping in Caracas June 4, 2013
Women leave state-run supermarket 'Bicentenario' after shopping in Caracas June 4, 2013
Reuters
A Venezuelan state is testing a system to limit purchases of food and other staples, local media reported on Tuesday, in a move that officials defended as necessary to stop contraband trade but opposition critics slammed as Cuban-style rationing.
 
The OPEC nation's consumers have for months had to endure long lines or visit several stores to find basic products that run the gamut from toilet paper to butter, driven in part by a lack of hard currency to ensure imports.
 
The state of Zulia in western Venezuela said it will launch a pilot program next week that uses a digital system to block shoppers from buying the same staple products at different stores on the same day.
 
“Considering the average size of a family, one person should only buy 20 staple products during the period that we establish, which we think will be one week,” Blagdimir Labrador, an official with the Zulia state government, told the newspaper Panorama in an interview published on Tuesday.
 
Venezuela's price control system leaves the cost of basic products such as rice and flour considerably below their market value, creating a temptation for consumers to buy them in large quantities and resell them during shortages.
 
The business is even more lucrative in border states such as Zulia, which neighbors Colombia, because shoppers can buy goods and resell them across the frontier where they trade for several times the subsidized Venezuelan price.
 
Products to be covered by the system include rice, milk, toothpaste and diapers. The pilot program is to be carried out in 65 supermarkets in Zulia's capital Maracaibo and the neighboring municipality of San Francisco.
 
Supporters of the system credit the late leader Hugo Chavez for creating welfare programs that keep groceries cheap for the poor as part of his self-styled socialist revolution that his protege and designated successor Nicolas Maduro has vowed to continue.
 
Opposition leaders say the nagging shortages are a sign that the Chavez-era state-led model of price controls and frequent nationalizations is running out of steam. They sometimes compare the system to that
 
“We cannot allow the government to use our state to create a Cuba-style rationing system,” said opposition legislator Elias Matta of Zulia. “This shows the failure of 21st century socialism.”

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Guatemala President Resigns Amid Corruption Probe

Spokesman says Perez Molina submitted his resignation after a judge issued an order to detain him in a customs fraud case, which already has led to the jailing of his vice president and the resignation of some Cabinet ministers
More

Guatemalan President Resigns Over Corruption Scandal

Otto Perez Molina submitted his resignation at midnight after a judge issued an order to have him detained for questioning
More

Video US Men's Soccer Team Eyeing Matches Against Peru, Brazil

The team is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing result in the Gold Cup, when Jamaica upset the US 2-1 in the semifinals
More

Video Scientists Predict Wet Winter in Drought-stricken US West

Strong El Nino could bring relief to dry areas, but punishing droughts to other regions around the globe
More

Guatemala Congress Opens Door for Prosecution of President

With 132 of 158 lawmakers approving a measure to strip immunity, prosecutors now can file criminal charges against Perez Molina just like any other citizen
More

Rio Olympics Official: Water Will Be Clean for Games

Recent report says waters so contaminated with bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill
More