Details of the new biometric rationing system announced last night continued to trickle in through the night, as did reaction to the government’s surprise announcement.
During a speech broadcast last night, Maduro gave a few more details on the new system, which is expected to be rolled out nation wide by the end of this year.
Below are some of the new details given out last night:
- The fingerprint scanners are similar to the ones already used around the country during elections to verify voter identity.
- The system will be placed in “every store that sells household items”, from corner stores to supermarkets and even pharmacies.
- The fingerprint scanners must be purchased by the individual store owners. The government will not subsidise their purchase. Any business that does not purchase and install the machines will be “sanctioned”.
According to the Maduro, the point of the fingerprint scanning system is to create a database of “every product and material that moves in the country”. By creating this database, the government hopes to be able to pinpoint exactly where products are being taken off the market. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”, Maduro assured.
Maduro made a prediction, saying that “the system will be perfect”, and promised to give out more details about it tomorrow.
Reaction to Rationing System Mixed
El Universal spoke to shoppers in two supermarkets last night regarding the new rationing system. Mariana Oquendo, a shopper, said:
It’s about time the government did something. The fingerprint scanners will at least make it difficult for the street peddlers and the Chinese to hoard products. They leave the supermarkets without stock and people have to spend a whole day going from one place to another looking for food, or wait in line for hours.
Another shopper, Ricardo Guzman, said:
I don’t agree with restrictions and controls. I demand the right to choose freely and be able to buy whatever I want in whatever quantity I want.
Henry Boscan, a third shopper, agreed, saying:
I have three sons, and with these rationing we won’t be able to replace the products we use during the week.
Among opposition leaders, the announcement was universally rejected. The governor of Miranda state and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said:
The fingerprint scanners they want to install now will only mean more corruption.. installing these machines is a business, and it will fill the pockets of whoever installs them… the country is bankrupt. This is only another lie.
The president of COPEI, a large opposition party, released a statement today on the topic, calling the system “an attempt against the dignity of human beings”:
[The system] is flawed and inhumane because it treats the people like criminals and damages their fundamental rights.
Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas, said:
[The new system} represents a degrading assault against the dignity of Venezuelans. It’s in keeping with the Cubanization of our country. The difference is that instead of controlling what we eat with a little paper card, like they’ve been doing in Cuba for 50 years, here they’ll do it with more advanced technology.
Barquisimeto: 10-Hour Long Line Up for Powdered Milk
A 10-hour long line up formed outside the Garzon supermarket in Barquisimeto, Lara state, when news spread around the city that a truck was due to arrive some time today with powdered milk. People started to line up at midnight. Below is an image of the crowd this morning: