Venezuela citizens flooded to stores to scoop up goods at the currency was devalued this week. President Chavez announced rolling blackouts to accomodate energy shortages and now soldiers were dispatched to force closure of stores that raised prices.
"There is no reason for anybody to be raising prices," Chávez said Sunday on his national television show.
The Washington Post reported that this is the "first devaluation of the bolivar since the introduction of currency controls in 2003 quickly spurred a shopping frenzy, as Venezuelans rushed out to buy televisions, computers and other goods that would hold their value."
"The typical Venezuelan is saying, 'My savings are going to be worthless,' " said Robert Bottome, editor of the business newsletter Veneconomia in Caracas, the capital. "The store shelves are pretty much empty right now."
The Venezuelan Institute for the Defense of People in Their Access to Goods and Services had inspected and closed dozens of stores -- those responding to the inflation and mob scenes for imported goods (e.g. electronics)
Chavez can now increase spending before Congressional elections as inflation may rise to 60% -- no, that is NOT a typo: 60%!
A year ago inflation was reported at 25% (one of the highest in the world)
The rationing of electricity was to prevent water levels from the Guri Dam hydroelectric plant from being depleted as the country fights a massive drought. The UKPA released that "the government recently reduced the hours of electricity supply for shopping centres and required businesses and large residential complexes to cut energy use by 20% or face fines."
The tensions between America and Venezuela continue as these citizens struggle against an oppressive regime. A jet intercept was announced by Chavez as he claimed American jet violated their air space -- the White House denies such an incident.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6080BB20100109?type=politicsNews: also source for picture (BBJ)
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