[Ed. – When inflation is raging upward by the day, mandating “sales” amounts to forcing merchants to give away their inventory. Shortsighted, destructive — that’s socialism.]
The world’s highest inflation rate has gutted Venezuelans’ incomes and chronic shortages have left them struggling to buy food, let alone presents.
Seeking to spread some cheer, President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has set aside its distaste for consumerism and sent a small army of bureaucrats and soldiers to force more than 200 retail stores in Caracas to hold Christmas sales.
“Our worker-president has ordered us to guarantee fair prices for the people, and we are complying. These economic hitmen can’t take away our merry Christmas,” said William Contreras, head of the National Superintendency for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights, known by the acronym Sundde.
The government accuses the owners of the targeted stores of jacking up prices by 300 to 500 percent.
But Vieira and other owners deny that, saying the mandatory markdowns are pushing them to the brink of bankruptcy.