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President Chávez threatens to nationalize food distribution chain

During an event held Wednesday to grant pensions on new beneficiaries of the Venezuelan Welfare Institute (IVSS), President Hugo Chávez threatened to nationalize wholesalers and major food vendors.

"Down there in the barrio, you should denounce any grocery store which sells meat above the set price. Then, we will take control of it. We will give it to the community council in order to manage it, because I am certain that it will not steal its own community."

"The bigger you are, the more you have to take care of Chávez. If there is need to take over and nationalize you, just wait for some hours until the law is enacted and released in the Official Gazette. I will keep a watchful eye then. Give me the first excuse to nationalize the first warehouse, the first large outlet and make it available for the people," Chávez boasted.

The Venezuelan Government enforced Tuesday a hike in prices for poultry, beef and milk, in addition to increasing control of the whole meat marketing and income tax exemption for some staples.