Communism causing shortages in Venezuela


Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has threatened to nationalise stores that sell meat above a government-set price.

The government says supermarkets have been artificially boosting prices of basic foods by manipulating stockpiles.

But critics blame regular food shortages on prices imposed four years ago, forcing shops to sell at a loss.

Many privately-owned supermarkets have suspended sales of beef, milk and sugar after one chain was temporarily closed for pricing meat above allowed levels.

The government has already seized goods that it says are being hoarded to drive up prices.

The products have been sold at government-run Mercal supermarkets, which sell staple foods at discount prices in poor areas, and at makeshift distribution centres.

President Chavez told a gathering of pensioners in the capital, Caracas, that he was waiting for the "first excuse" to take over privately-owned outlets that manipulate prices.

"If they insist on violating the interests of the people, the constitution and laws, I will take away the warehouses, the shops, I will take away the supermarkets and I'll nationalise them," he warned.

He has stepped up his nationalisation programme since winning re-election in December.

In recent weeks, he has bought stakes in electricity and television companies from US firms.


Some private companies are also concerned about President Chavez's intention to make them allow their employees time during the working day to study socialism.
He can't afford to do that. Everyone would then know what a fool he is for trying to implement it after it has been demonstrated as a failure everywhere it has been tried. It is a good way to make everyone poorer. Perhaps they would learn how Russians used to have to stand in line for hours to get a loaf of bread. The communist system of distribution has to be one of the worst systems ever devised by man.

And, another thing, Chavez does not need an excuse to take over these business. The legislature has already given him the authority. Perhaps he would rather see the private sector lose money following his ridiculous policies than absorbing the losses himself. If he keeps it up they will give him the business.


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