The New York Times

Venezuela Seizes Warehouses Packed With Medical Goods, Food
The New York Times

President Nicolas Maduro’s government said on Thursday it had taken over warehouses around Venezuela crammed with medical goods and food that « bourgeois criminals » were hoarding for speculation and contraband.

The socialist government says businessmen and wealthy opponents are trying to sabotage the economy to bring Maduro down, while also seeking to make profits from hoarding, price-gouging and smuggling across the border to Colombia.

Critics say 15 years of failed policies of state intervention are to blame for the OPEC nation’s widespread shortages, high inflation and apparently recessionary economy. They accuse nouveau riche officials and military officers of illegal business practices.

Pressure has been growing on the government over shortages of medical products, with huge queues at some pharmacies and the problem exacerbated by severe outbreaks of mosquito-borne fevers.

In a two-hour appearance, Maduro also announced he would use decree powers to increase the maximum jail sentence for smugglers to 14 years, set new « fair price » controls for basic goods from Nov. 1, and curtail informal reselling of food and medical essentials on the street.

Au Québec, certaines personnes aiment bien dire que si l’Alberta est riche, c’est uniquement à cause du pétrole. L’exemple du Venezuela est une démonstration éloquente que le pétrole n’est pas suffisant pour qu’un pays ou une province connaissent la prospérité, la taille du gouvernement est un facteur beaucoup plus déterminant.