The Miami Herald

Venezuela introduces Cuba-like food card
The Miami Herald

Presented by President Hugo Chávez as an instrument to make shopping for groceries easier, the « Good Life Card » is making various segments of the population wary because they see it as a furtive attempt to introduce a rationing card similar to the one in Cuba.

The measure could easily become a mechanism to control the population, according to civil society groups.

« We see that in short-term this could become a rationing card probably similar to the one used in Cuba, » Roberto León Parilli, president of the National Association of Users and Consumers, told El Nuevo Herald. « It would use more advanced technological means [than those used in Cuba], but when they tell you where to buy and what the limits of what you can buy are, they are conditioning your purchases. »

Chávez said Tuesday that the card could be used to buy groceries at the government chain of markets and supplies. Former director of Venezuela’s Central Bank, Domingo Maza Zavala, said this could become a rationing card that would limit your purchases in light of the country’s recurring problems with supplies.

Jaime Suchlicki, director of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, said that Venezuela’s current problems of scarce supplies are very similar to those Cuba faced when Fidel Castro introduced the rationing card.And although the cards were introduced as a mechanism to deal with scarcities, Suchlicki said, they later became an instrument of control.