Caracas, March 25, 2015 (vnezuelanalysis.com) – Two managers of the private supermarket chain Dia Dia were formally charged by the Venezuelan state prosecutor yesterday with the alleged crimes of boycott and destabilization of the economy.
Manuel Andrés Morales Ordosgoitti and Tadeo Arriechi Franco were arrested at the beginning of February after state authorities uncovered ton loads of basic items in a Dia Dia warehouse in Caracas.
The indictments are part of a ramped up effort on the part of the Venezuelan government to crack down on hoarding and speculation by large private retailers, which is a primary contributing factor to inflation and widespread scarcities of basic goods.
The Bolivarian government has regulated the prices of everyday goods for years, in order to ensure access by the majority of Venezuelans for whom they were unaffordable under previous administrations.
Nonetheless, the government has accused the private sector of exploiting this policy by hoarding cheap subsidized goods, creating consumer gaps, then selling them at exorbitant prices on the black market in what President Maduro has termed an “economic war” waged to destabilize the socialist government.
Last month, board members of the private firms Dia Dia and Carnica 2005 were arrested for their companies’ role in a massive hoarding operation.
Carnica 2005 was nationalized and integrated into the state food distribution network PDVAL.
Dia Dia operates 35 supermarkets throughout Venezuela, which are largely found in low-income communities.
Popular Defense Against Economic War
On Monday, Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza inaugurated the first of the nation’s “people’s military commands” in Lara state, which will be charged with “generating a victory in the economic war.”
Last month, President Nicolas Maduro unveiled his plan for the creation of “peoples’ military commands” throughout the nation designed to combat “economic sabotage” at the local level by ensuring the supply of basic food and hygiene products as well as medicines.
“The men and women who form these commands have the responsibility of attending to the denunciations of the people and safeguarding their access to food, medicine, and all necessary products,” declared the vice-president.
The people’s commands will reportedly operate in coordination with social movements, communal councils and communes, and state security organs, although details remain limited as the project is gets off the ground.