Sunday 13 June 2021

Venezuela’s Military Traffics in Food at the Expense of the Hungry

The military is drastically effecting the food distribution process (taringa)

TODAY VENEZUELA – The Venezuelan military is reportedly taking advantage of the power given to them by Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro: Instead of fighting hunger, they profit from it, according to a recent report.

An investigation conducted by the Associated Press found corruption in Venezuela’s management of food distribution.

The military that should be in charge of managing the scarce food in the country, but instead administer it at illegal markets, where goods are bought and sold for up to 100 times the price set by the government.

- Advertisement -

“Food now goes for more than drugs,” said Cliver Alcalá, a retired general who helped oversee border security.

Since 2004 — the year President Hugo Chávez created the Ministry of Popular Power for Food — the military has been involved in food distribution and production control; however, as the scarcity and economic crisis in the country increased because of neglected farms and factories, so too did protests, looting and hunger.

The government is now in charge of importing most food. Bribes to generals are a normal occurrence for high-priced items, according to Werner Gutiérrez, Professor of Agronomy at the University of Zulia.

“If Venezuela paid market prices, we could import double and easily meet the needs of our population,” said Gutiérrez.

- Advertisement -

The investigation of the news agency pointed to the case of a South American businessman, who last July had a boat full of corn waiting in the port, and for which he had already paid millions in bribes to Venezuelan officials.

The boat “had been docked 20 days ago,” the businessman told the news agency.

The South American businessman who chose to remain anonymous explained that he understood that he should pay more bribes despite the fact that money was not mentioned; however, the then-Minister of Economy took the ship because the expenses were rising because of the delay.

Likewise, the entrepreneur said he paid $8 million to people who worked for Minister Marco Torres and explained that he could do it because officials inflate prices on the invoice that they give to the state.

A $52 million corn contract reportedly included a multi-million dollar surplus, based on market prices at the time.

- Advertisement -

The National Assembly tried to censor Minister Torres for corruption, based on the annual reports of the Ministry of Food that show significant payments. It was reportedly rejected under the reasoning that National Assembly members were trying to hurt the ministry.

Military control over food makes revolt by hungry soldiers less likely, but it has also reduced food supplies.

The US government, which has already made known its position on corruption in Venezuela, has initiated investigations against businessmen and senior officials, including army personnel, for laundering money that passes through the US financial system.

Three top US food vendors have also stopped selling directly to the Venezuelan government to avoid conflict.

Corrupt activity reportedly begins as soon as food arrives in the country, leaving ships waiting at sea until they are paid for. After the merchandise is unloaded, customs agents take their share while officials take care of the distribution process.

“It’s a continuous chain of corruption from the time food arrives by boat until it is transported by truck,” Luis Peña, COO of the Caracas-based Premier Foods importer, said.

According to AP, if the importers try to skip the process without paying bribes, the food stays and rots.

After customs, trucks must pass through military controls to stop food traffickers.

The drivers interviewed by AP claimed that half of the officers at the checkpoints charge them.

At the end of the food chain, some soldiers sell goods directly to businesses.

“The army is getting fat while my grandchildren grow skinny,” said a 74-year-old man who was walking stiffly in the middle of the traffic on a recent afternoon. “Little comes our way.”

Souce: El Nuevo Herald.

This article originally appeared on Panampost.com

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Long lines and confusion as Venezuela begins COVID-19 vaccination

Q24N (Reuters) Hundreds of senior citizens and health workers stood in...

Bolsonaro compares quarantines to Maduro’s dictatorship

Q24N - Brasilia (EFE) The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said...

MOST READ

Today’s Vehicle Restriction: June 10, “ODDS”

Today, Thursday, June 10, only ODDS can circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save for those under the...

Quepos flooded by heavy rains (Photos)

QCOSTARICA - The residents of the Central Pacific endured heavy rains Monday afternoon, June 7, hardest hit the town of Quepos, where the streets...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction: June 8, “ODDS”

Today, Tuesday, June 8, only ODDS can circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save for those under the...

New Television Program To Promote Family Fun

Q ENTERTAINMENT - Attention families of Costa Rica! A new contest program, led by Douglas Sánchez and Verónica González, is looking for participants who...

Police intervenes in the Rincón Grande de Pavas school due to overcrowding

HQ - The Fuerza Publica (National Pollice) intervened an agglomeration of people on the outskirts of the Rincón Grande de Pavas school during the...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction: June 9, “EVENS”

Today, Wednesday, June 9, only EVENS can circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save for those under the...

COVID vaccines in the workplace: Can I ask who got their shots?

(DW) Jon works for the local government in the US state of Virginia. The 40-year-old received both his COVID shots in April. Most of...

eHow to Become Successful in Online Casino Betting 

To become a successful gambler in the online industry, there is a lot to cover. It can be known to be a vastly different...

Today’s Covid News: Restrictions allowed a decrease in Covid-19 and prevented hospital collapse

QCOSTARICA - A moderate decline in new cases for the third consecutive week allowed the hospital system to avoid the dreaded collapse and rapid...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.