Such shortages have sporadically appeared with items from milk to coffee since early 2003, when Chávez began regulating prices for 400 basic products as a way to counter inflation and protect the poor.
Yet inflation has soared to an accumulated 78 percent in the last four years in an economy awash in petrodollars, and food prices have increased particularly swiftly, creating a widening discrepancy between official prices and the true cost of getting goods to market in Venezuela.
”Shortages have increased significantly as well as violations of price controls,” Central Bank director Domingo Maza Zavala told Unión Radio on Thursday. “The difference between real market prices and controlled prices is very high.”
Authorities on Wednesday raided a warehouse in Caracas and seized seven tons of sugar hoarded by vendors unwilling to market the inventory at the official price.
Major private supermarkets suspended sales of beef earlier this week after one chain was shut down for 48 hours for pricing meat above government-set levels, but an agreement reached with the government on Wednesday night promises to return meat to empty refrigerator shelves.
I find this exercise of government hubris and arrogance so sickening that it literally nauseates me. Think of the harm that he’s doing to the very people who he manages to demagogue into voting for him. The cumulative effects of this type of policy and his destruction of capital assets in Venezuela’s oil industry make me feel very, very sorry for the Venezuelan people.
Thanks to Phil Miller for the link.