Food shortages in Venezuela have reached Catholic churches. The lack of supply of wheat flour has been even affected the preparation of the Host, the bread consecrated in the Eucharist.
Through social media, the Catholic organization Siervas de Jesús (Jesus’ Servants) requested aid and flour donations to be able to maintain the Eucharistic ceremony in different Venezuelan churches.
In an interview for PanAm Post, a representative of the organization, who preferred to remain anonymous, explained how this shortage of flour affects several parishes in Venezuela. The Siervas de Jesús Congregation is in charge of preparing the Host not only for Caracas temples, but also for different parishes in the rest of Venezuela. However, the sister we interviewed stated that they have not been able to continue with the production of the communion bread because of the shortage.
“We cannot get wheat flour. When we needed the flour before, we went to bakeries that already knew us and they sent us the quantities we needed,” said the sister.
However, she explained that since “the crisis is so big, not even do they [the bakers] have any [flour]”. For the congregation, the problem of the production of communion bread began “since the crisis has intensified here [Venezuela], with the scarcity of everything.” They have had problems getting flour for around two years “but this year has been the worst because we have nothing,” she added.
Last week we could not dispatch a single Host, we ran out completely. But some parishes have tried to get packages [of flour]… If we do not get the flour, we can not do anything because it’s impossible for us to seek outside, it would because of the price. If no generous soul helps us here, we […] regret it greatly because if we leave the food of the body… Without communion bread there is no Communion.
The sister said that the shortage of flour is due to the lack of flour production in Venezuela.
In order to produce anything, Venezuelan businesses depend on government imports of raw materials. The government controls products that enter and leave Venezuela.
Victor Maldonado, executive director ejecutivo of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services in Caracas, explained that flour shortages are due to the monopoly of imports of all edible goods.
According to Maldonado, the Maduro government stopped importing wheat flour, which is not produced in Venezuela.
“The government monopolized the imports of all foodstuffs and everything that the government monopolizes ends up being a trap of inefficiency and corruption. The consumer must pay the price but even so companies collapse,” he said.
Omar González Moreno, a congressman of the National Assembly (AN) for the state of Anzoategui, has also spoken out about the shortage of wheat flour, and has expressed concern about the consequences this brings to the Venezuelan Catholic community.
“Under this government, we won’t even be able to take communion because Maduro intends to finish off the Host. Scarcity and misery is the ultimate end of all the government’s actions. This is why, as citizens, we have to remain active fighting to achieve national liberation, “he said.
González Moreno said that, in order to have “an honest economy”, investment should be allowed and promoted, as well as the “respect of private property.” He made a call for “everyone to work with freedom of action.”
The shortage of wheat flour has affected several businesses in Venezuela, especially bakeries, which are now being audited by the government.
Bakeries in Venezuela must not only face price control, exchange rates and the government’s monopoly of imported raw material. Now they are also required to produce continuously even as raw materials are regulated and the government verifies the legality of all products’ ingredients.
A new government measure specifies that 90% of the wheat flour should be destined to the production of salted breads with regulated prices. However, Maldonado explained that bread for daily consumption is regulated at a price below the costs of production.