Venezuela to toughen price controls, set profits - New York News

Venezuela to toughen price controls, set profits

Posted: Updated:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is extending price controls and will place limits on profits as he extends attempts to curb the galloping inflation that is eroding support for his rule.

Maduro made the announcement in a late-night television address Sunday in which he also vowed to step up inspections of businesses selling shoes, clothing, automobiles and other goods to make sure they aren't gouging consumers.

"We can't just close the businesses; the owners have to go to jail," Maduro said in an impassioned speech in which he cited Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts to harangue businessmen he accuses of usury. "We can't allow our hard currency to be used to rob people through the sale of these goods."

Huge crowds of government loyalists and opponents formed outside appliance stores over the weekend after Maduro ordered the military to occupy the Daka chain of electronic stores and slash by more than half prices for washing machines, televisions and other white goods.

While soldiers with assault rifles were deployed to keep bargain hunters in check, at least one Daka store, in the country's third largest city of Valencia, was looted by unruly crowds, according to photos and videos posted online.

Maduro Sunday night urged Venezuelans to remain calm, saying that he won't allow the "parasitic bourgeoisie" to overcharge consumers ever again.

To that end, he vowed to place percentage limits on profit margins if congress approves a bill granting him special powers.

Free-market economists say such a move would exacerbate shortages that reached a record in October, according to the central bank. They say that to stabilize the economy, and shore up a currency whose black market value is a ninth of the official rate, the government needs to lift capital controls put in place a decade ago by former President Hugo Chavez and devalue the bolivar.

That's a notion Maduro rejects.

The president argues that Venezuela's inflation, which is running at 54 percent, is the result of hoarding and speculation by his opponents in Venezuela and in the U.S., and that South America's biggest oil producer has more than enough dollars to pay for imports. If not for the "economic war" being waged by his opponents, inflation should be running around 16 to 18 percent, he said Sunday night.

If Maduro does yield, he's unlikely to do so before next month's municipal elections, which the opposition is trying to turn into a referendum on his seven-month administration.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:33:11 GMT
    New Haven police say they have charged a Westbrook with making a hoax call in November to say an armed man was heading to shoot up Yale University.
    Police say they have charged a Connecticut man with making a call in November in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on his way to shoot up Yale University. New Haven police said Wednesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace.
  • Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:10:58 GMT
    The brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died after sustaining a serious head injury following a fall in New York, British royal officials said Wednesday. Clarence House said that the 62-year-old Mark Shand died in the hospital Wednesday after falling late Tuesday.
    The brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died after sustaining a serious head injury following a fall in New York, British royal officials said Wednesday. Clarence House said that the 62-year-old Mark Shand died in the hospital Wednesday after falling late Tuesday.
  • Port Authority could rescind $1 NJ Transit lease

    Port Authority could rescind $1 NJ Transit lease

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 18:57:07 GMT
    NJ TransitNJ Transit
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is holding its monthly board meeting, two days after it heard from a panel on what it needs to do to improve its accountability and efficiency and restore public trust.
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey could rescind a $1-a-year lease for a park-and-ride lot near the Lincoln Tunnel. The agency's chief of real estate and development told a committee Wednesday that it should change a deal made in 2012. Published reports have alleged that former Port Authority chairman David Samson voted to approve the lease even though his law firm did business with New Jersey Transit, which operates the park-and-ride lot.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices