Venezuela Orders Landlords to Sell, Adds Fingerprint Scanners at Grocery Stores (Video)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has introduced two new schemes designed to prevent chronic shortages of homes and basic goods including food.

On Monday President Maduro issued a decree ordering landlords to sell apartments to any tenant who has rented for more than 20 years. The landlords have 60 days to comply or face a fine equivalent to $40,000. Also, the mandated sales must be submitted to the government for approval to insure the price is fair.

According to the Daily Mail, landlords who run afoul of the new decree have five days to pay before the government seizes their property and evicts them. In addition to being a bad deal for landlords, critics of the move suggest it will only strengthen the black market for rental space.

Also this week, Venezuela instituted a new scheme designed to combat shortages of food and other basic goods. Since January, more than a quarter of basic goods have been absent from stores, along with a shortage of medicines at pharmacies.

Under the new system, shoppers are given an ID card and must swipe a fingerprint with each purchase. They are then prevented from returning to buy the same items for a week. The goal of the new program, which is optional for now, is to prevent hoarding. Food Minister Felix Osorio said the system would sound an alarm when suspicious purchasing patterns were detected.

This video posted on You Tube appears to show a woman at a supermarket in Valencia trying to buy soap. She gives the cashier her customer ID number and is told she has been refused because she bought soap the day before. Note that this clip was shot last week before the introduction of the new system which includes fingerprint scanners.

Thanks to my colleague Frances Martel who confirmed the accuracy of the translation/subtitles. The original clip is here.


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