Venezuela Protests & Inflation: Two Top Farmatodo Executives Arrested After Being Accused of Pricing Irregularities, Understocking Products
Venezuela has just arrested two top executives of Farmatodo, one of the Latin American nation’s largest drug store chains.
Charged under laws designed to protect against Venezuelan inflation, the president of the Farmatodo chain, Pedro Luis Angarita Azpurua, as well as his vice president were accused of pricing "irregularities," according to the BBC.
President Nicolas Maduro has been on a recent crusade against what he deems as price fixing taking place in his country. The two men were arrested just days after the owners of the prosperous Dia a Dia supermarket chain were detained.
Angarita along with his vice president, Agustin Antonio Alvarez Costa, are being accused of keeping their company's shelves understocked and of understaffing their cash registers in order to artificially cause long lines.
Prosecutors view these alleged tactics as a way to cause rising price for consumers, which would negatively affect the economy.
The owners of the Dia a Dia supermarket chain were arrested on similar price fixing charges.
President Maduro has also recently made headlines by accusing U.S. Vice president Joe Biden of helping to stage a coup aimed at destabilizing Venezuela. This was a claim that the U.S. later called "unfounded and false," according to EFE via Fox News Latino.
According to a BBC article, the President of the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Jorge Roig, has described the alleged offences the executives have been arrested for as "completely subjective."
Roig went on to say that his organization considers this move "as an attack not only on Farmatodo, but on a specific attack on private industry."
The Venezuelan government is currently in a state of stress and turmoil.
Thousands of Venezuelans marched in an opposition gathering in Caracas in late January. The protesters were banging empty pots to show their frustration with a perceived shortage of many staple foods.
They also demonstrated against high inflation, crime, and long food lines that have plagued the nation.
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