TIME Venezuela

Venezuelan President Announces Mandatory Fingerprinting at Grocery Stores

People stand at the checkout line at a supermarket in Caracas
People stand at the checkout line at a supermarket in Caracas on Aug. 21, 2014. Carlos Garcia Rawlins—Reuters

The measure is meant to end food shortages

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Wednesday that the country will introduce a mandatory fingerprinting system in supermarkets. He asserted that the plan will keep people from buying too much of any single item. The president did not say when the measure would go into effect, the Associated Press reports.

The Socialist Venezuelan government has struggled with food shortages for over a year. Basic cooking items like oil and flour are scarce. The administration says that the shortages are a result of companies speculating and people smuggling food out of the country.

Critics argue that the new system—which was tried on a voluntary basis in government-run grocery stores this spring—is equivalent to rationing food.

[AP]

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