Caracas, September 2nd 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Thursday those involved in the fight against price speculation in Venezuela held an educational forum in Caracas to help consolidate the 500 popular “Committees against Speculation” established to support government efforts against unfair pricing practices. The representatives of the popular price control committees met with staff of the government’s Institute for the Defense of People’s Access to Goods and Services (INDEPABIS) to discuss their reasons for increased “social auditing” of the providers of goods and services.
“The First Meeting of the Committees against Speculation,” held at the Andres Bello School in downtown Caracas, brought together price control activists from across the states of Vargas and Miranda, as well as within the nation’s capital, Caracas.
While INDEPABIS carries out its own inspections and recently established an anonymous hotline for private citizens to denounce price speculation, the 500 “Committees against Speculation” that exist to date are set to work alongside INDEPABIS in grassroots efforts to control price gauging practices by small, medium, and large commercial businesses.
According to Alfredo Duplot, INDEPABIS Director of Political Education and Development, the formation of popular committees “is of great importance within each community” because “as private business owners become aware that the community is on alert for any attempt at price speculation, they avoid doing so.”
“This contributes to protecting and guaranteeing the well being of all citizens,” he said.
According to Duplot, the government agency recently carried out some 1,500 inspections of possible price speculators, many of which resulted from “the Venezuelan people accessing this service (of public complaints), and INDEPABIS acting in defense of their rights.”
Speaking at Thursday’s educational forum was Alexis Rendon, of the La Urbina Communal Council in Caracas, who said it was his “duty, as a citizen, to contribute to the process of developing consciousness as it relates to defending ourselves against, and relating to, commercial business.”
According to Marilis Chirinos, of the Vencedora Communal Council in Santa Rosalia, “as auditors and representatives of communal councils we have the right to participate in the inspection of commercial outlets and contribute to the elimination of speculation.”
Earlier this year, INDEPABIS President Augosto Montiel told YVKE Mundial radio that organized communities, specifically communal councils, had begun establishing “social auditing” mechanisms in the fight against price speculation.
To bring an end to food hoarding, which produces both food scarcity and price fluxes, Communal Councils have also begun setting up “Food Security Committees” that work to monitor, denounce, and resolve specific incidents of this practice identified in their communities.