By KEJAL VYAS and SARA SCHAEFER MUÑOZ
CARACAS, Venezuela—New President Nicolás Maduro, trying to shore up Venezuela’s economy amid growing shortages of everything from corn flour to toilet paper, has extended an olive branch to the country’s private sector, in particular the country’s largest food maker.
It is a surprising turnaround given the antics of his predecessor, the late populist Hugo Chávez, who regularly threatened to nationalize the food maker, Empresas Polar SA, and accused it of hoarding products in order to sabotage his self-styled revolution.
This week, Mr. Maduro met with Polar’s top executive Lorenzo Mendoza—Mr. Chávez’s bête noire—to work together to resolve food issues. Mr. Mendoza discussed the same topic with Vice President Jorge Arreaza, Mr. Chávez’s son-in-law.
After those meetings and others with the business sector, Mr. Maduro’s government raised by 20% state-controlled prices on key items of food like chicken, beef and dairy—a tacit acknowledgment that controls aimed at stemming inflation have ... Read More