Tuesday, November 12th 2013 - 08:14 UTC

Maduro promises more price controls while bargain hunters empty appliance stores

Venezuelans stood in lines outside appliance stores for a fourth day on Monday after President Nicolas Maduro deployed the army to force retailers to slash prices. After taking control of several appliance stores last week, Maduro vowed late Sunday to step up inspections of businesses selling shoes, clothes, automobiles and other goods to make sure they aren’t gouging consumers.

A stampede of buyers take advantage of the cheaper prices

 Maduro pledged he’ll impose limits on profits as the government tries to curb inflation running at 54%.

In eastern Caracas, a five-block line of bargain hunters, some waiting since Saturday, snaked from a JVG electronics store hoping for the chance to buy plasma televisions, washing machines and refrigerators at deep discounts.

Maduro is gambling that by expanding price controls he can regain support he has lost since winning election in April, as inflation soared to a two-decade high and the U.S. dollar shot up on the black market to nine times its official value.

Analysts said the measures might bolster government candidates in next month’s mayoral elections, but warned that the tougher rules are likely to inflict more damage on Venezuela’s economy by discouraging investment and adding to shortages that reached a record level in October.

“We can’t just close the businesses; the owners have to go to jail,” Maduro said in an impassioned speech Sunday night in which he cited Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts to harangue businessmen he accuses of usury. “We can’t allow our hard currency to be used to rob people through the sale of these goods.”

At the same time Maduro is attacking merchants he calls the “parasitic bourgeoisie,” he has vowed zero tolerance for looting. On Monday, police fired shots in the air to prevent crowds from raiding a toy store in the Caracas suburb of Los Teques, with many businesses in the town shuttering early for fear of violence.

Maduro also took his offensive to the Internet, blocking access to seven websites that track the value of the country’s Bolivar currency on the black market. The president over the weekend accused the websites of spreading panic and conspiring against his government.

Free-market economists say the only way to stabilize the economy is to lift capital controls put in place a decade ago by the late President Hugo Chavez and to devalue the Bolivar.

That’s a notion Maduro rejects. The president argues that Venezuela’s inflation is the result of hoarding and speculation by his opponents in Venezuela and in the U.S. He says the country, which is South America’s biggest oil producer, has more than enough dollars to pay for imports.

If not for the “economic war” being waged by his opponents, inflation should be running around 16% to 18%, Maduro said Sunday night.

17 comments Feed

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1 Gordo1 (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 10:11 am Report abuse
Who is guiding him? The little bird who speaks to him in the name of Chávez?
2 Mendoza Canadian (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 10:56 am Report abuse
Commie paradise...again....
3 Anglotino (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 11:01 am Report abuse
Only in Venezuela could 16-18% inflation be considered low.

Guess Argentina has low inflation after all.
4 Casper (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 11:25 am Report abuse
I wonder when he will go after the 'hoarders' and how he will decide who they are.
5 Conqueror (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 11:56 am Report abuse
Oh dear. “he cited Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts to harangue businessmen he accuses of usury”. Is he going to use “religion”? Much like Hitler did. “Maduro is attacking merchants he calls the “parasitic bourgeoisie,” he has vowed zero tolerance for looting”. Desperation is growing. Here is a “translation”. “I am incompetent and don't know what to do. I wish I had my bus back”. Here's what to do, Nicky. Stand up. Be resolute. Do the right thing. Run!
6 Heisenbergcontext (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 12:02 pm Report abuse
My T.V. is telling me that gangs pretty much control part of the country as they do the prisons. Kidnapping of small children has become common and they are not being treated with tenderness. I'm watching a reporter as she listens to the sound of a suspect being tortured by the cops. It's both horrific and surreal. The camera crew comes under fire as the cops try to arrest the kidnapper and the dude gets snuffed. This was all ordered from a murderer ( doing three years ) in the Big House.

“It's a horror show right there on my T.V.”

“It's a horror movie right there on my T.V.”
7 yankeeboy (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 01:06 pm Report abuse
Wow! What a nutjob! I guess these are the last new electronics Venezuelans will see for a very long time.
Argentinians should be watching this and preparing accordingly.
8 Furry-Fat-Feck (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 02:25 pm Report abuse
It must be a cultural thing but in my experience if you can't afford something like consumer electronics you do without. In what normal sane environment does anybody call out the army to force retailers to slash prices?
9 CabezaDura (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 04:04 pm Report abuse
It was interesting hearing Maduro announce the Price controls, he explained himself in the way he is sure that the US dollars the importers use to bring over the products from abroad belong to Venezuela, and therefore he believes that the products the store chains belong to Venezuela as a consequence. This wrong assumption leads to the belief there is no such thing as private property. After all, everything can be State-related so the next thing is, as you are using Bolivares which the Central bank emits and its value backed by the State, your business, house, car etc belongs to the government because it is valued in Bolívares....LOL
10 reality check (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 04:32 pm Report abuse
I for one would pay good money to see his red beret, face painted shock troops, engaged in vicious hand to hand fighting with handed wielding Venezualian housewives.
11 CJvR (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 04:34 pm Report abuse
Well it is hardly as if this is a surprise, rather it is just the continuation of a the cleptocracy of the previous leader in the increasingly failed state that Venezuela, despite oil riches, is turning into.
12 reality check (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 04:47 pm Report abuse
That should have read, handbag wielding housewives.
13 ChrisR (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 05:04 pm Report abuse
@ 12 reality check

BUT? Is there anything IN the handbags? :o)

The only “comparison” between this idiot and any other politician I have known is “Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Looney Part” who regularly attracted enough votes at the seats he stood for NOT to lose his deposit.

He was certainly far more articulate than this twat.
14 reality check (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 05:11 pm Report abuse
I know it jesting but how the hell can you you do anything else when discussing
Venezuala, it's not a country, it's the planets biggest ferkin Circus, run by the planets biggest clown.

I would call him insane, but that would do a grave injustice to the millions of people who actually suffer from mental illness.
15 Briton (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 07:12 pm Report abuse
All desperate goverments try to bribe the people.lol
16 Pugol-H (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 07:15 pm Report abuse
Seriously losing the plot this boy, Caligula style.

Next he will have the military capturing invading seashells, when they have finished shelling chain stores that is.
17 ChrisR (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 07:45 pm Report abuse
We can all name the Looney Toons of SA, can’t we:

TMBOA: The archetypal nutcase.

Maduro: As reality check says, the clown par excellence.

Morales: Cowpat who just loves to make an international fuss (but don’t they all).

Correa: Old “dealing in drugs is not illegal” himself. His drug boss of a father told him that.

Castro: “We can kill presidents with our doctors” he must be proud of the commie system he and Fidel have administered for all those decades.

Mujica: my homilies will go down in the glorious history of the Tupamaros; this will confirm how stupid we all were letting the military take over the country instead of us. Oh, must get the crap off my tongue and have a word with TMBOA about using that bidet we bought her. Is UYU inflation 20% yet? Don’t worry, do what I did and rob a bank. I need to lie down now and have a sleep.

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