Venezuela will begin phasing in a program to install 20,000 fingerprint scanners at grocery stores across the nation. This program was initially spearheaded by President Nicolas Maduro, who said the rationing system will reduce panic purchasing and food hoarding.
Since 2014, there have been extended lines at grocery stores and markets across Venezuela due to shortages of basic produce and other goods. Maduro stated the Venezuelan food shortages were caused by price and supply manipulation.
Just last month, the owners of several grocery store and market chains were taken into custody for allegedly creating long lines at stores by not opening enough registers at high-volume times. Maduro also accused Colombian food smugglers of coming into Venezuela and purchasing price-controlled produce in federally-run grocery stores along the Venezuela-Colombia border. Last week, South American foreign officials stated the program will help Venezuela address the scamming that causes the food shortages.
Anti-government demonstrations and protests have ensued in the country due to the lack of necessary foods and medicines. Venezuela’s declining currency rates and falling oil prices have diminished its supply of capital to buy imported produce to help with the shortages.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Paul Townsend – Flickr License