The Superintendencia de Precios Justos [Superintendency of Fair Prices] launched legal proceedings against Farmatodo, a national retail pharmacy chain, over allegations that the company is purposely causing long lines to form at its stores.
Ernesto Villegas, who is the Chief of the Capital District, announced the lawsuit through Twitter. Villegas said that he was personally inspecting a Farmatodo in Caracas, where he observed long lines. Villegas said that the line was caused because some of the pharmacy’s cash registers were not staffed.
By just allowing people to go into the store and staffing the cash registers, the long line in front of the Farmatodo in Los Ilustres dissolved.
According to Villegas, Farmatodo must now explain why it “contribute to the long lines in front of its stores”.
Farmatodo has 136 stores in Venezuela and employs over 5,000 people.
Caracas Bicentenario Continues to Suffer from Scarcity
A line began to form outside the Bicentenario state-owned supermarket in Moltalban, Caracas starting at around 9:00 PM on Friday. While the shoppers were hoping to be guaranteed access to the supermarket on Saturday morning when it opened for business, only those whose national I.D. cards ended with a number between 0 and 4 were allowed in.
Shoppers were only allowed to enter the store starting at 11:00 AM on Saturday, once the vice-president of Nutritional Security and Sovereignty Carlos Osorio arrived to re-open the store. Osorio was accompanied by mayor of the Libertador municipality Jorge Rodriguez. Once there, Rodriguez said:
If the Venezuelan people couldn’t count on this powerful [supermarket] chain that protects citizens and contributes to the consumption of food, they wouldn’t have any food.
Some of the shoppers were not as enthusiastic about the occasion as Rodriguez. Irene Ortega, one of the shoppers in line, said:
I’ve been here since 4:00 AM. They’ve been letting people in since early in the morning, but just so they can go inside and sit on chairs. Until [Rodriguez and Osorio] don’t official re-open the supermarket, we can’t shop. It’s a big insult because they’re really late.
Purchases were limited to one pack of sugar, one pack of powdered milk, one pack of large diapers and one pack of detergent per costumer.
TeleSur Messes Up PR Campaign
TeleSur, the left-leaning Latin American television network headquartered in Caracas, launched an online campaign this week called #AmamosAVenezuela [#WeLoveVenezuela]. The campaign aimed to boost support for Venezuela online. On Thursday, the campaign released the picture below:
The picture reads:
We love Venezuela because she receives strangers as one of their own.
Ironically, the man in the picture is Miami Herald journalist Jim Wyss. The woman Wyss is hugging is his co-worker, Luisa Yanez. Wyss is hugging her because he has just been released after spending 48 hours in detention at a military intelligence facility in San Cristobal, Tachira state. The original picture was taken in November 2013 at the Miami International Airport:
I asked authorities to provide statistics on contraband for a Miami Herald story. What I got was two days of detention with a front-row view of the country’s intelligence service.
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