Venezuelan Pharmacy Chain Challenges State Raid, Expropriation


Espa帽olIn the last five days alone, the Venezuelan government has arrested at least 17 owners, shareholders, or managers of private companies, whose property or workplaces have also been confiscated by the government.

On the night of Saturday, January 31, six managers and the executive president of pharmaceutical and foodstuffs chain Farmatodo,聽a business with over 160 stores and more than 90 years of operations in the country,were arrested. Five were later freed from the headquarters of the Intelligence Service (Sebin) on Sunday.

Maduro stated that Farmatodo would be absorbed into the system of state food distribution dubbed聽Misi贸n Alimentaci贸n (Mission Nourishment) in a “public-private” alliance. According to Venezuelan daily聽El Nacional, the owners of the pharmaceutical chain still don’t know whether the measure constitutes a complete expropriation of their property.

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In a statement, Farmatodo management claimed that their “conduct was well-known and transparent, so we’re permanently available for the authorities to investigate our operations, such as in the 60 inspections that we’ve satisfactorily passed during the month of January.”

On Monday, President聽Nicol谩s Maduro announced聽in a plenary conference of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) that Cabello was to head up the seizure of another company, Corporaci贸n C谩rnica, and its folding into state rationing organ PDVAL. Four executives and a shareholder were arrested聽for hoarding and speculation, among other charges.

Maduro christened the seizure of private businesses “Operation Sucre,” using Twitter to spread the respective hastag聽#Operaci贸nSucre.
“Maduro launches #Operaci贸nSucre to seize businesses involved in the Economic War.”

On Tuesday, February 3, under the direction of National Assembly President聽Diosdado Cabello, the government seized聽35 stores belonging to supermarket chain D铆a a D铆a,聽alleging that management had hoarded products resulting in huge lines of clients.

On the same day, with five of聽D铆a a D铆a’smanagement聽arrested, its outlets began to聽apply聽the procedure of state-run stores: customers now have to present themselves to make purchases according to the last digit on their identity number, spread out across the week.

Sources: El Nacional, La Patilla, Reuters.

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