Venezuelan Government Seizes Bakeries
Venezuela’s socialist government has begun taking national control over bakeries in an attempt to tackle food shortages in what is being dubbed a “bread war.”
The government began this process last week, accusing bakery owners of hoarding scarce sacks of government-imported flour and asserting that they were using the subsidized products to make more expensive products rather than following price regulations.
The Associated Press reported on the takeover of one specific bakery, Mansion’s Bakery, that was raided by agents of the National Superintendent of Fair Prices last week. The government claimed to be taking over the establishment for 90 days in order to distribute baked goods directly to the people.
Within hours of the takeover, the Mansion’s sign was taken down and replaced by photos of President Maduro, former leader Hugo Chavez, and Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar.
With the new process of distribution implemented by the government at the now renamed “Minka” bakery, the day’s supply had quickly run out early in the afternoon.
Venezuela has long attempted to end the economic crisis that has plagued the country over the last three years through increasing government control over the market.
These seizures come after other regulations imposed during the “bread war” led to the arrests of four bakers last week for making illegal brownies and other pastries. According to Telegraph, Maduro “sent inspectors and soldiers into more than 700 bakeries around the capital” last week in order “to enforce a rule that 90 percent of wheat must be destined to loaves rather than more expensive pastries and cakes.”
The Venezuelan government has created more regulations to enforce further state control over industries, especially the food industry. President Maduro has previously implemented price controls on food and other industries since the legal precedent was set in 2013.
These attempts to use state power to increase and more fairly distribute food supplies have come to no avail; Venezuela is experiencing triple digit inflation in addition to the the already crippling food shortages.
Photo Credit: AFP/Juan Barreto