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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
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 Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
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 Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Canada, White House Dismiss Candidate's Suggestion for Border Wall

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that northern wall on US-Canadian border is 'legitimate issue for us to look at'
More

Tropical Storm Erika Dissipates; 21 Dead

Storm flags over Cuba, could regain strength over Gulf of Mexico; death toll in Dominica, Haiti is 21
More

Video Cubans Embrace New Internet Connectivity Options

Government has approved use of prepaid cards for web access; some foresee construction of better infrastructure, with towers, fiber-optic cables
More

Brazil's Rousseff Faces Growing Impeachment Threat

President’s woes increasing as she now also faces angry rival who controls the possibility of impeachment proceedings against her
More

Cancer, Transplant Patients Rail at Drug Shortages in Venezuela

Currency controls, slumping production and smuggling have caused acute shortages of medical supplies in the socialist-led nation
More

Guatemalan Prosecutors Urge President to Resign Amid Scandal

Government comptrollers' office also issued a statement saying Perez Molina should resign 'to avoid greater social unrest that could have unpredictable consequences'
More