Philadelphia, January 10, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Guyana City in the southeastern Venezuelan state of Bolivar was the scene of looting for a third consecutive night on Tuesday.
According to El Universal correspondent Pableysa Ostos, the city saw four incidents of attempted looting in San Felix and five in Puerto Ordaz.
One target was the Picasso Bakery in the Costa Atlantico shopping center, where a group of people broke in and took deli items. Elsewhere, a group of individuals smashed a hole in the wall of the Paratepuy Express liquor store, making off with liquors, snacks, used cleaning products, and debit card readers.
Overall, sixteen people were reportedly arrested throughout the city as authorities mobilized to prevent further lootings.
On Monday evening, there were break-ins at least six shops and twenty people were detained.
Several businesses also saw looting on Sunday night, prompting personnel from the National Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and investigative police to conduct home raids in an attempt to recover the stolen items.
The disturbances were reportedly sparked by the limited availability of food products, the refusal of shop owners to open their businesses, and severe difficulties in accessing cash for transactions.
January is typically a difficult month for Venezuelans, as national production and distribution tends to shut down over the holidays, worsening existing shortages, while the population is strapped for cash following the depletion of their holiday bonuses.
However, this year the situation is further intensified by hyper-inflation that has rendered many basic food items unaffordable.
The soaring prices sparked scattered protests in recent weeks, particularly in response to delays in the distribution of government-subsidized holiday pork.
Nonetheless, the social unrest has so far been largely contained within localized pockets.
On Tuesday morning, there was also an attempted looting at a bakery in downtown Caracas, where residents tried to forcibly enter the store in protest over the owners’ alleged refusal to sell bread at the regulated price.
The refusal of merchants to adhere to government-regulated prices together with the failure of authorities to enforce them has provoked widespread discontent among Venezuelan popular sectors.
No further incidents of looting were reported in Caracas.