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Rush at Venezuelan electronics stores after military forces them to charge 'fair' prices

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 11th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's a most unusual sight in Venezuela, sort of a perverse re-imagining of the United States' "Black Friday" rituals. Black Friday is the term given to the Friday after Thanksgiving as electronics stores drastically slash prices in order to begin the Christmas season rush. In Venezuela, customers are gleefully rushing to the country's five electronics stores, Daka for popular prices on gadgets - with the military standing by. It's all part of an "economic war" that officials say is being waged in Venezuela.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside Daka stores, hoping for a popular prices. The socialist government has forced the retail chain to charge customers "fair" prices.

President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military "occupation" of the Daka's five stores. He says its part of his country's ongoing crackdown on an "economic war" that is being waged against the Venezuela, with the help of Washington.

Venezuela's National Guard carrying assault rifles kept order at the stores as savvy shoppers rushed to get inside.

"I want a Sony plasma television for the house," one anxious Venezuelan consumer says. "It's going to be so cheap!"

Televisions were the most in-demand item in the sudden sale, although people waited more than eight hours for refrigerators, washing machines and sewing machines.

Vendors offered water and snacks outside the stores by those keen to profit from the commotion. Happy customers weaved giant television screens and other items back to their cars through the crowds.

Some Venezuelans are unimpressed with the gesture, although they wait in line for shiny new consumerist goods. "I have no love for this government," one woman said, hoping to take home a cut-price television and fridge. "They're doing this for nothing but political reasons, in time for December's elections."

Maduro faces municipal elections on December 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper. There has also been soaring inflation, at a whopping 54.3 percent over the past 12 months.

The picture won't brighten anytime soon. Some economists are expecting a devaluation soon after the election, likely leading to even higher inflation.

Maduro, who took over from the deceased Hugo Chávez in April 2013, appeared on state television last week calling for the "occupation" of the chain, which employs some 500 staff.

"This is for the good of the nation," Maduro said. "Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses . Let nothing remain in stock!"

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