Venezuela threatens to expropriate bakers that don’t obey new bread regulations

fox newsAccording to Roman poet Juvenal, people hope for just two things: bread and circuses.

While there is no word on the circus, Venezuela’s beleaguered government is demanding that bakers at least give the people bread.

The socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro threatened earlier this week to expropriate bakeries in Caracas that fail to adhere to new regulations aimed at tackling widespread bread shortages.

Industry spokespersons, though, said it is physically impossible to abide by the new rules and that if the government expropriates the city’s 709 bakeries some 7,000 jobs would be at risk.

Venezuela does not produce its own wheat and instead relies on imports, which it sends to mills where it is ground into flour and then distributed to bakeries. The new regulations, which come on top of existing price controls and foreign exchange controls, require that 90 percent of flour must be used to bake bread and only 10 percent can be used for pastries and cakes. …

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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.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.