Speed Reads

fingerprints for food

Shoppers in Venezuela might soon have to be fingerprinted in order to buy food

In an effort to combat food shortages, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that in the near future, fingerprints will have to be scanned before a person can purchase items at the grocery store.

For more than a year, there has been a shortage of staples like flour and cooking oil in the country. Price controls keep the cost down, AFP reports, and Maduro blames the shortages on people smuggling those subsidized items out of Venezuela and into neighboring countries; beginning in early August, Venezuela started closing its border with Colombia at night in an attempt to thwart smuggling.

Once the scanners are in place at grocery stores, they will prevent shoppers from coming to the grocery store on repeat trips and buying huge quantities of food. "The order has been given to the superintendency of prices to establish a biometric system in all supermarkets and commercial and distribution chain networks of the republic," Maduro said. "The biometric system will be perfect. [It is an] anti-fraud blessing."

Not everyone is endorsing the plan. Many lawmakers say this idea is downright offensive. "This is nothing less than the Cuban rationing book," said Alfonso Marquina of the opposition Justice First party. "The government can't presume to tell a family what it's going to eat."