El Nacional published an article today in which it demonstrates that the chronic bread shortages affecting the country’s bakeries is caused by a lack of flour given the ongoing and prolonged collapse of the country’s economy.
The article comes as the Maduro regime has increased its anti-bakery rhetoric over the last few days. Yesterday, PSUV official Freddy Bernal hinted that the regime would somehow force at least some bakeries to work 24/7 to sell bread. Bernal’s comments followed an announcement earlier in the week that special political commissions made up partially of militias would oversee Caracas’ bakeries, and take them over from their owners if necessary.
Today, a total of 3,900 regime inspectors visited Caracas’ 709 bakeries in order to oversee operations in the establishments.
Jose Luis Ferreira, a bakery owner in Los Ruices, Caracas, told El Nacional:
I’m waiting for some official to come and explain to me how it is that we can bake all day when we don’t have enough flour.
Jorge Di Nisi, the owner of an establishent in Los Dos Caminos, told the newspaper that he is receiving less than half the flour that he needs to meet demand. Di Nisi said:
[This month] I’ve only received 55 bags [of flour], but I need more than double that. Yesterday I paid one of my suppliers and I asked him for more bags, but he told me to forget about it.
On Monday, Maduro accused the country’s bakeries of “making people who want bread suffer”. Without providing any details, Maduro suggested that the country’s bakeries are in league and are waging a “bread war” against Venezuelans by refusing to bake and sell bread for a reason that he did not make clear.
Maduro’s comments were followed by the unveiling of new regulations that demand that Caracas’ bakeries sell their first loaf of bread before 7:00 AM each morning.
Juan Crespo, the head of the country’s flour industry, responded to the measure by saying:
The government wants bread to be ready by 7:00 AM. The presumption here is that bakeries will have enough flour to meet demand, and that is in the hands of the government since they control the distribution of [flour]….
Crespo said that several of the country’s flour mills – including the ones in Catia, La Encrucijada and Maracaibo – are completely stopped due to a total lack of flour. Crespo said that the country’s bakeries need at least 120,000 tonnes of imported wheat per month in order to adequately meet demand.
At the same time, Crespo said that he agrees with the regime’s push to force bakeries to produce more bread and less baked goods like cakes and other treats.
Jose Mendez, who works at a bakery in Chacao, said:
It is true that we use flour to make cachitos [a kind of croissant with ham], cakes and sweet rolls, but it’s not true that we don’t bake bread, or that we don’t bake a lot of it. What happens is that whatever bread we bake sells out immediately, but the [cakes and other baked sweets] last longer in their displays. That’s why people think we bake more [sweets] than bread.
On the regime’s bellicose rhetoric against Caracas’ bakeries and the threat to take them over, Mendez said:
They’re putting the noose around our necks.
40 Million Bolivares found in Rio de Janeiro
Police in Rio de Janeiro found a stash of Bs. 40 million in the city’s Caju favela after receiving an anonymous tip.
The authorities found the bills inside a convoy of vehicles belonging to a local drug organization. After a shootout in which no one was injured, the authorities managed to seize the money along with two vehicles.
Below, an image of the money:
At the official exchange rate, Bs. 40 million is approximately USD 4 million. At the current black market rate (Bs. 2930.74/USD), the sum equals $13.648.43.
This is not the first time that a large sum of Bolivares has been found outside of Venezuela. Last month, approximately 25 tonnes of Bolivares were found in Paraguay by authorities in that country.
It is plausible that regional criminal organizations are attracted to the Bolivar given its artificially low exchange rate. With the right connections inside the Maduro regime, it would be relatively simple for organized criminals to launder money through the country’s currency exchange system at a favourable exchange rate.
Caracas, Havana Rank Lowest in Region in Quality of Lving Report
The Mercer consulting firm released its annual quality of living report today, in which it ranks 231 of the world’s cities based on the living conditions that they provide for their citizens.
A parade of usual suspects topped the list, with Vienna taking the number one spot followed by Zurich, Auckland, Munich, and Vancouver.
San Juan de Puerto Rico was the highest ranked highest of all Latin American cities, coming in at 75. It was followed by Montevideo (ranked 75), Buenos Aires (ranked 93), and Santiago de Chile (ranked 95).
Caracas ranked 189 behind Tblisi, Georgia and Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The city ranked slightly higher than Djibouti and Minsk. It also beat Havana, which came in at 192.
Caracas Hydro Restores Service After Main Break
Hidrocapital, the agency in charge of Caracas’ water service, has repaired a broken water main that knocked out water to three quarters of the city after it failed on Sunday. The repair was completed at approximately 6:00 AM this morning, restoring water service to the city as well as to some regions in Vargas and Miranda state.
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