El Nacional published an article today in which it claims that the cost of food has risen ten nearly times in the past five years. The article points out that in 2010, the price of the nutritious food basket – a list of 58 basic food products needed to maintain a healthy diet – was Bs. 2,400.59. Today, the cost of the same five items averages Bs. 22,603.99.
The nutritious food basket is a unit of measurement used by the Centro de Documentacion y Analysis de la Federacion Venezolana de Maestros (CENDAS) and is often used as a measure of the cost of living in the country.
The same article points out that since the minimum wage in April of 2010 was Bs. 1,064, a family roughly two salaries to cover the cost of the basket. Today, the minimum wage in Venezuela is Bs. 5,622.48, which means that Venezuelan families now need at least four minimum wage salaries to acquire the food they need to be healthy.
CENDAS said that the dramatic rise in the cost of food was not unforeseen:
This is something that we saw coming. The rising of prices was something that was announced, but the government did not want to make the necessary adjustments. All [high food prices] do is ensure that the quality of life of Venezuelans worsens, specially the middle class.
While the Banco Central de Venezuela has not published official scarcity numbers in over a year, CENDAS tracks the data. According to its numbers, CENDAS says that while in 2010 13.7% of the nutritious basket’s 58 products were scarce, that number had jumped to 31.03% by April of this year.
National Assembly Stands Behind Cabello
A day after an article in the Wall Street Journal claimed that Diosdado Cabello was under investigation for being involved in a global drug trafficking organization, the National Assembly voiced its unwavering support for the country’s second most powerful figure.
PSUV deputies drafted and signed a document and called Cabello a “hero” and an “admirable” Venezuelan.
Palestinian Foreign Minister: Venezuela is “Biggest Ally”
Riad al Malki, the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs currently visiting Venezuela, said this morning that Venezuela was the Middle Eastern country’s “most important ally”, and said:
Our relationships with Venezuela have multiplied over the last few years thanks to the desire of the now-deceased President Hugo Chavez, and that of current President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodriguez stressed the importance Caracas places on its relationship with Palestine, saying:
[Venezuela is ready] to help you fight for your independence and sovereignty at any moment.
Farmatodo Ready for Fingerprint Scanners
Farmatodo, the country’s largest privately owned pharmacy chain, has announced that a pilot project involving finger print scanners at cash registers has begun in some of the chain’s stores in Caracas.
The fingerprint scanning system – called the Sistema de Abastecimiento Seguro – was announced late last year by the government as a way to ration the amount of goods people can buy. Initially, the system was only supposed to be put in place in state-owned stores, but the government later clarified that its goal was to install it at every cash register in the country.
Thee director of public relations for Farmatodo, Johana Rodriguez, said that the fingerprint scanners were not a rationing system; rather, they are a way to validate a shopper’s identity any time they buy a product in the store. However, if the customer attempts to buy a scarce product, the cash register’s computer system will notify the cashier how much of the item the customer has purchased in the past. Depending on the figures, the customer may be denied the ability to purchase additional items.
CADIVEA: SICA “Causing Backlog” in Food Deliveries
The Camara Venezolana de la Industria de Alimentos [Venezuelan Chamber of Food Industries] (CADIVEA) said today that a government program created to ensure the proper distribution of food throughout the country – SICA – has been causing “important delays in food deliveries” through the country.
Through a press release, the organization blamed SICA for a recent spat of issues that have resulted in a delivery backlog. Part of the press release reads:
Since Thursday, problems accessing the SICA system have generated delays of several hours in the processing mobilization guides… this is affecting the frequency of our deliveries.
CADIVEA points out that this most recent issue is similar to another that caused similar delays a few weeks ago. The delays are forcing many business to work “non-traditional hours” to accommodate increasingly erratic delivery schedules.
Rodriguez: Voting Books “Not Needed”
The mayor of the Libertador municipality, Jorge Rodriguez, said today that the Consejo Nacional Electoral should do away with voting books because they are “not necessary”. The voting books are the only physical way to corroborate the results tallied in the country’s voting machines, since voting is conducted completely electronically in Venezuela. Without the books, it would be virtually impossible to confirm that the votes tallied by the machine are correct, as in the case of a close election result.
[Since] we have electronic books it’s not necessary to have a physical one. We have them as an extra measure of security, but they are not necessary in the strictest sense. We agree that to accelerate the election process in Venezuela, we should only keep electronic books.
Rodriguez explained that the completely electronic system is a perfect counter to the electoral fraud that sometimes occurred in Venezuela prior to the system’s inception. According to Rodriguez, before Chavez’s arrival, even “the dead would mysteriously vote”. With the electronic system, which works by scanning the voter’s fingerprints, fraud becomes impossible, says Rodriguez.
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