Caracas shops mobbed as Venezuela’s Maduro forces price cuts

Article originally appeared in ReutersCARACAS (Reuters) – Mobs gathered outside some Caracas supermarkets on Saturday after the government ordered shops to slash prices, creating chaos as desperate Venezuelans leapt at the chance to buy cheaper food as the country’s worsening economy causes severe shortages.

The leftist administration of President Nicolas Maduro ordered more than 200 supermarkets to cut prices back to last month’s levels – a tall order in a country where many prices change daily due to the world’s fastest inflation rate.

News of the discounts spread like wildfire, leading hundreds to mass in front of stores before daybreak. When one major supermarket in wealthier eastern Caracas did not open for hours, people began pounding on the storefront. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

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