USA Today

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Venezuelan military seizes major retail chain
USA Today

Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country’s equivalent of Best Buy, a chain of electronics stores known as Daka, hoping for a bargain after the socialist government forced the company to charge customers « fair » prices.

President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military « occupation » of the company’s five stores as he continues the government’s crackdown on an « economic war » it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.

Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside. « I want a Sony plasma television for the house, » said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator, who had waited seven hours already outside one Caracas store. « It’s going to be so cheap! »

Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months. Daka’s store managers, according to Maduro, have been arrested and are being held by the country’s security services.

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