Originally published August 28 2014
Venezuelan government announces mandatory biometric cards to control supermarket shoppers
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Venezuela's continuing experiment with Marxist socialism continues to be an abject failure -- as much as every other country's experimentation with Marxist socialism -- as evidenced by the country's shrinking productivity, tanking economy and shortages of basic goods.
So bad have things gotten in the South American nation that its leader, President Nicolas Maduro, has announced that every citizen will soon be required to carry a "biometric card" that limits food purchases through the use of electronic scanners and government databases.
As reported by Britain's The Guardian newspaper:
The move, announced on Wednesday, is part of the government's latest effort to fight the oil-rich nation's chronic food shortages, which it claims result from hoarding by speculators, who resell goods at a profit, and from smuggling into neighbouring countries.
'We are creating a biometric system'
There is little new under the sun in Venezuela; this is the second time that the Venezuelan government, in recent years, has been reduced to tracking citizen purchases of food through this same Orwellian system. Earlier this year, the paper said, citizens were "encouraged" to voluntarily enroll in a similar biometric program that was to be used in government-run stores, as a way of ending shortages of basic, yet essential, food items, and to end consumer runs on certain things. But the plan did not even make it out of the test phase.
"We are creating a biometric system... to function in all distribution and retail systems, public and private," Maduro told citizens in a televised address recently. "This will be -- like the fingerprint scan we use in our electoral system -- a perfect anti-fraud system."
Importantly, he provided no details about how the system is supposed to work, when it will take effect or how it is supposed to achieve its goals this time around.
Food hoarding and black market food smuggling has become so prevalent in Venezuela -- and as it turns out, so necessary -- that images of soldiers checking trunks of cars are now included with many stories covering this issue.
But again, this is all the making of the little socialists running things. Recent figures show that as much as 40 percent of the food items sold in the country are being smuggled out, because government-imposed price controls have led to goods so artificially undervalued that they can be sold in neighboring countries for as much as four times what they fetch in Venezuela. If there is a black market now for food in the country -- and there is -- it is because government interference has created one.
Specifically, food sold in neighboring Colombia adds extra earning opportunities for hard-pressed Venezuelans: They can exchange Colombian pesos on the black market as well, and of course for a profit.
But government officials in Caracas are catching on -- and cracking down. Smuggling of everything from gas to food and other goods into neighboring South American countries has gotten so pervasive that authorities have had to shut down the borders at night, especially the border with Colombia; they would rather do this and impede the natural flow of commerce than admit that Marxist socialism has failed.
Complaining about a situation he perpetuates
No matter. Critics have pointed out the obvious: Shutting down borders and trying to track food sales electronically won't solve the problem of smuggling -- or food shortages, or a lack of production, or a bad economy that saw the inflation rate rise to more than 60 percent a couple of months ago. In fact, if the government continues its failed policies, the problems it created and is now trying to combat will only get worse.
Some Venezuelan politicians have figured it out. One of them, Henrique Capriles, leader of the country's political opposition, pointed out the obvious when he compared the new biometric system to a Cuban-style rationing card, which signifies glaringly that Marxist economic models simply do not work.
"How can you talk about supply when national production is halted? What can you possibly distribute when there is no food?" Capriles asked on Twitter, The Guardian reported.
As Reuters notes in its reporting on the biometric card introduction, Maduro has complained that the smuggling is driving the shortages, but again, what he fails to recognize -- and admit -- is that the socialist model of price controls and heavy subsidizing of food purchases has artificially lowered the value of the goods, thereby creating the black market smuggling that he decries.
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