Venezuelan military seizes major retail chain


#1

USA Today:

Venezuelan military seizes major retail chain

CARACAS — Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country’s equivalent of Best Buy, a chain of electronics stores known as Daka, hoping for a bargain after the socialist government forced the company to charge customers “fair” prices.President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military “occupation” of the company’s five stores as he continues the government’s crackdown on an “economic war” it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.
Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.
“I want a Sony plasma television for the house,” said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator, who had waited seven hours already outside one Caracas store. “It’s going to be so cheap!”

Televisions were the most in-demand item in the line outside one Caracas store, though people waited more than eight hours for fridges, washing machines, sewing machines and other imported appliances.Water and snacks were being sold outside the store by savvy Venezuelans keen to profit from the commotion. Happy customers weaved giant television screens and other items back to their cars through the crowds.
Images circulating online as well as reports by local media appeared to show one Daka store in the country’s central city of Valencia being looted.

“I have no love for this government,” said Gabriela Campo, 33, a businesswoman, hoping to take home a cut-price television and fridge. "They’re doing this for nothing but political reasons, in time for December’s elections."
Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.

That’s taking doorbusting to a whole new level. I wonder who is going to restock the shelves?


#2

From what I’ve read, they were price gouging. According to a story in the South China Morning Post, that store was selling washing machines for the equivalent of over $8,600 USD. Huffington Post cites price stickers visible through the store front for a 46 inch TV they were charging over $8,500 USD for. Another source cites a laptop the chain purchased for just over $600 USD which they were selling for over $4,000 USD. :shrug:


#3

This should remind everyone living in America that pluralism, representative democracy and the rule of law need to be protected from those who would circumvent it. Pluralism is not the norm throughout history. We ought not to take for granted our freedoms, lest we become like Venezuala.

Ishii


#4

46in TV for $8,500? Then don’t buy it.

Ishii


#5

Price gouging isn’t tolerated here either unless you have really good lobbyists on the payroll.


#6

In Venezuala, there is no rule of law, just rule of the powerful - whether economic or military. This should remind all Americans not to take our freedoms for granted. Unfortunately, as long as the NFL is on, the threats to our liberty from the left are ignored.

Ishii


#7

Venezuela was ruled by ultra-rich oil barons which kept most of the population in poverty and squalor before Chavez and before Maduro. Venezuela is also a lesson in what happens when you don’t have a “left” to keep the rich from trampling and abusing the poor. As the decades of abuse pass, resentment builds, and one day they’ll come for you.


#8

EmpNap, the left doesn’t care about poverty, squalor or abuse of the poor. They care about power. And they will wait for their opportunity - which might come from resentment from decades of abuse. But they don’t care about helping the poor.

Ishii


#9

[quote="ishii, post:4, topic:344840"]
46in TV for $8,500? Then don't buy it.

Ishii

[/quote]

duh! I know right? smh


#10

Before you spout an opinion on a society it is important to know the facts.

The Venezuelan’s were ruled by a “democracy” that had NO right leaning parties since the ousting of dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez in 1958.

The 2 main ruling parties (Accion Democratica a member of the “International Socialist” and Partido Social Democratico COPEI) since then and up to the advent of Chavez to power were both leftist in their ideologies favoring state run economies. And as such, most if not all the basic infracture was owned by the state. Very little free economy.
NO Oil rich oil barrons! The government owns all the minerals in the soil either above OR below.

The last 2 governments prior to Chavez were the first attempt in 50 years to privatize some of the infrastructure. (Phone Service, Some roads, Steel and Aluminum Industry)

Venezuela is a perfect example of a unatypical economy, where the country could undergo a massive deflacion (contraction of the per capita income) and have prices soaring at the same time (Inflation).

Chavez by the way is no real change in the political direction the country was going, unless you count further left as a change, which by the way his political tendency is/was Castro-Communism.


#11

By the way I can also explain the seemingly unreal prices people have alluded to in the previous posts and unfortunately this too stems from a total ignorance of the facts of the country.

First you need to know that Venezuela does not produce ANY major appliances having to import 100% of them. So lets analize the reason why, a lets say, US $500.00 TV set costs apparently a lot more in Venezuela.

There is no free market exchange rate for the Venezuelan currency “Bolivar fuerte”

The government has set an “official” exchange rate of 5.50 BsF/US $

So in theory your $500.00 should cost aprox. BsF 2,750.00

However the government will not sell you US currency to buy TV’s or washing machines etc. So if you want to purchase them you have to resort to obtain the US currency on the black market which right now is at 60.00 BsF/US $

So now the TV now costs BsF 30,000.00 instead

If we do some mathematical wizardry and do the reverse calculation, taking the street price and divide by the “official exchange rate” we get:

BsF 30,000.00 / 5.5 Bsf/US $ = 5,455.00 US $

What have we proven? That if you are slick you can prove anything with math?
Nope!

The reverse conversion is a fallacy. Why? Because the 5.50 BsF/US is unavailable to “normal” people, only very corrupt officials in the halls of power can get them.
In fact it is the major way that corrupt polititians are getting rich and grabbing all the wealth of the country.

Hint! they obtain the government US currency at “official rate” and sell them in the black market.
Of course it does not help that the person engaging in the selling of the TV can be also penalized (currency trafficking is prohibited by law) so he would try to maximize gain charging whatever the market can bear.


#12

So the Venezuelans are suffering 50+% inflation and actual shortages of staple items, i.e. not available at any price.
Even if merchants were “gouging” I’m pretty sure which problem I’d want the gov’t to address first. But it’s easier to put on a show of punishing exploiters.


#13

Do you honestly believe this nonsense that you type? Is there ANY type of reflection and critical thinking applied to these statements before you type them?

If you could REALLY sell washing machines for $8,600, what would happen? People who are interested in making a profit would begin flooding the market with washing machines. Every two-bit hustler with a truck would be driving in new, refurbished, and used washing machines into the country day and night to make such huge profits.

And when that happened, this store would be forced to lower their prices to keep up. And yet they weren’t. So maybe that should tell you something. What it should tell you is that the socialists in charge are manipulating their currency and inflation is out of control in that country.

This is ESPECIALLY true when you consider a COMPLETELY unnecessary good such as a big screen tv. If they were truly priced so outrageously, no one would buy one, even the super rich. They would send an employee on a flight to another country, buy two tv’s, and fly back. It would be FAR cheaper than buying a tv for $8,500.

Please set aside your political knee-jerk reactions and assess the situation accurately.


#14

As others have noted, the country has ONLY had left political parties, and far left political parties. There have been no “right” political parties.

Care to re-assess your opinion in light of these facts?

And since Chavez has begun his socialist revolution, the condition of the people and the poor has worsened DRAMATICALLY.


#15

That isn’t true at all. The US-backed oil barons controlled the Venezuelan government until the election of Hugo Chavez. The people of Venezuela rose up to fight the US-backed coup against his government because they were tired of the abject poverty and squalor they were forced to live under when the oil barons controlled the country.

Those were the sticker prices clearly visible from the window. They are facts.


#16

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:15, topic:344840"]
That isn't true at all. The US-backed oil barons controlled the Venezuelan government until the election of Hugo Chavez. The people of Venezuela rose up to fight the US-backed coup against his government because they were tired of the abject poverty and squalor they were forced to live under when the oil barons controlled the country.

Those were the sticker prices clearly visible from the window. They are facts.

[/quote]

I'm sorry I grew up in Venezuela and you have no idea what you are talking about.


#17

Finally, the answer to high prices just in time for Christmas shopping season! Perhaps the U.S. could also have the Army move in to occupy the major department and appliance stores and force those prices down. Make everybody happy. And give out some Thomas Sowell books on economics free.


#18

Actually I do. The Chavez government slashed unemployment in half, drastically reduced poverty, increased GDP, provided healthcare for the people and reduced infant mortality. He solved many of the problems the oil barons created; which is why he was supported by the majority of Venezuelans and democratically elected four times.


#19

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:18, topic:344840"]

which is why he was supported by the majority of Venezuelans and democratically elected four times.

[/quote]

This tells me everything I need to know about how much you know.


#20

Well, don’t listen to someone who actually grew up there, whatever you do. That’d be plain silly. :rolleyes:

I want to know why these people think that a 46-inch plasma TV is a need and not a luxury. People are not entitled to luxuries, sorry.


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