[Marxism] “We will protect the PEOPLE against bourgeois parasitism”
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 11 07:56:37 MST 2013
NY Times November 10, 2013
Venezuelan Soldiers Deployed to Stores
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
CARACAS, Venezuela — The Christmas shopping season has started with a
jolt here, with the socialist Venezuelan government dispatching soldiers
to “occupy” a major chain of electronic goods stores, ordering prices
slashed there and in other shops that it has accused of price gouging.
Huge crowds formed outside stores in several cities over the weekend as
inflation-weary Venezuelans showed up hoping for bargains. Others took
the government’s order as a license to loot: Some posted cellphone
videos online showing large-screen televisions and other items being
carted off in Valencia, the country’s third-largest city.
The dramatic measures, ordered on Friday by President Nicolás Maduro,
were reminiscent of the populist gestures of his immediate predecessor,
Hugo Chávez, the country’s longtime leader who died in March.
They come as the government grapples with serious economic problems,
including inflation of 54 percent a year and shortages of many basic
goods, including toilet paper, milk and flour.
All of that is weighing on Mr. Maduro a month ahead of municipal
elections that the opposition is seeking to cast as a referendum on his
young government. Mr. Maduro argues that his government is facing an
“economic war” waged by what he calls the right-wing opposition in
Venezuela and its backers in Colombia and the United States.
In announcing that military personnel would occupy the five-store
electronics chain Daka, Mr. Maduro said that the government would
supervise sales at significantly lower prices and that the store’s stock
would be liquidated.
“Let nothing remain on the shelves!” he said during a television broadcast.
Mr. Maduro also dispatched officials to inspect other stores around the
country, saying they, too, would be forced to charge what the government
considers fair prices.
Officials said over the weekend that several store managers had been
arrested and would face charges of setting overly high prices. Luisa
Ortega, the national prosecutor, said that some people had also been
arrested and accused of looting.
Vice President Jorge Arreaza, who is married to one of Mr. Chávez’s
daughters, said on Twitter on Sunday that the campaign against what the
government calls speculators would continue forcefully. “We will protect
the PEOPLE against bourgeois parasitism,” he wrote, echoing language
often used by Mr. Maduro.
Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition leader whom Mr. Maduro
narrowly beat in an election to replace Mr. Chávez in April, criticized
the measures on his Twitter account, writing, “Maduro in desperation
over his failure and inability to lead the country takes measures that
do not solve the economic crisis.”
The crowds forming outside stores over the weekend included both
government loyalists and opponents. What they shared was a growing
frustration with the country’s economic malaise and prices that keep
soaring, fostering anger with both the government and merchants.
The main government television station on Sunday repeatedly showed video
clips in which Hebert García, the head of the recently created Supreme
Organ for the Popular Defense of the Economy, and other officials vowed
to keep up the pressure on so-called speculators.
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