Speed Reads

tortuous logic

Venezuela doesn't have enough bread, so the government is arresting bakers

Venezuela's economy is in a bad way, suffering from runaway inflation thanks to its government's currency manipulation as well as widespread shortages of food and other basic goods exacerbated by government corruption. Among the dwindling commodities is bread, and the Venezuelan government has responded by arresting bakers it says are waging an "economic war" on their own country.

As the Miami Herald reports, the socialist regime has arrested at least four people and seized control of two bakeries. The bakers' crime? A statement from the government said they were "selling underweight bread and were using price-regulated flour to illegally make specialty items, like sweet rolls and croissants."

The policy response to the bread shortage is a ban on making anything other than French bread and white loaves using government-imported flour. (Venezuela's military controls its food supply and the country is heavily dependent on imports.) Some 90 percent of bread products are also subject to price controls.

Venezuela's government intends to continue surprise raids on bakeries to catch bakers it alleges are hoarding flour instead of making bread — even as lines of would-be customers snake out the bakery doors. "The bakeries are showing the authorities that they have no bread inventory," said Juan Crespo, president of Venezuela's Industrial Flour Union. "The government has to see the reality."