Venezuela 'occupies' stores, causing shopping frenzy
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 7:54 p.m.
CARACAS — As soon as Dorisbell Pena received a text message informing her that President Nicolas Maduro had seized control of a nationwide chain of appliance stores on Friday, she rushed to the nearest outlet in the hope of finding what's become one of the scarcest items of all these days in Venezuela: a bargain.
A 34-year-old teacher, Pena has watched as the price of a new stove she needs has doubled in recent weeks to 40,000 bolivars even as her 2,500 bolivar-a-month salary stays the same.
“I've got to take advantage of this opportunity today because tomorrow the prices keep going up,” Pena said while huddled among friends on the concrete sidewalk outside the Tiendas Daka store in the eastern Caracas neighborhood of Bello Monte.
She's not alone. At 1:30 a.m., shoppers were still arriving to join the hundreds who began amassing in the afternoon after price inspectors said they found evidence of “usury” and Maduro ordered the chain's “occupation.” In a televised address on Friday night, the president vowed to reopen the stores on Saturday and unload their stock of plasma televisions, washing machines and other seized merchandise at “fair prices.”
“Leave nothing on the shelves, leave nothing in the warehouses,” he said.
The Friday night frenzy, described by one bargain hunter as an “organized looting,” cut across Venezuela's normally insurmountable political divide — a reflection of how near-record 54 percent inflation and shortages of basic goods such as milk and toilet paper are affecting all families in South America's biggest oil producer.
In a bid to bring down prices that have jumped in tandem with demand for dollars on the black market, Maduro on Wednesday tightened controls on currency transactions. With hard-fought municipal elections approaching next month, he also ordered the military to shut down businesses found hoarding products or speculating on prices.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard
- Statue of Egypt pharoanic princess found in Luxor
- China defends burgeoning military
- Russians adamant about vote
- Dutch pot problems spill into its streets
- Al-Qaida’s grip transforms, terrorizes eastern Syrian city
- Malaysia loses contact with plane carrying 239; 4 from U.S. aboard
- History may turn on a shilling
- Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend tells court at his murder trial of guns, temper
- 34 fatally slashed, 130 injured in rampage at Chinese rail station
- In North Korea, voting’s really a breeze: You must vote and you get 1 candidate