“At some point you’ve made enough money” – Barack Obama
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.