The Venezuelan government in Caracas began fingerprinting some shoppers at state-run supermarkets. The fingerprinting started as a plan to combat the scarcity of food throughout the country. Many consumers that are weary of shortages have ridiculed the measure.
It is very difficult for Venezuelans, many of which have struggled for years to find basic goods like cooking oil, eggs, certain medicines and diapers.
Over 10 years ago, Hugo Chavez, the former President, implemented a byzantine exchange rate system in which the bolivar and the dollar don’t have an official exchange rate, and fluctuates depending on what you are using it to buy. This makes it difficult for importers of important goods.
You cant walk around the city without seeing long lines for everyday goods. Venezuelans often have to visit different markets to find what they are looking for. Another option is to purchase inferior substitutes. One has to network with friends to find where scarce products exist.
The Venezuelan government blames the shortages on people who hoard goods and sell them in Columbia or for higher prices within the country. As a solution, President Nicolas Maduro decided to install a biometric system to keep people from being able to smuggle goods. Many of these are fixed price goods, allowing poorer Venezuelans the ability to buy them. This system will only allow for a certain allotment for each person and will guarantee that these cheap products remain on the shelves for everyone.
Many critics say that this is just a bandaid on a much larger problem of scarcity in the country but the Venezuela government has said officially that it has been successful and that 794 hoarders have been arrested. Other critics say this new system invades the citizen’s privacy.
Whatever the issue something needs to be done. Venezuelan food is some of the richest and tastiest food in the world. It would be a shame if people could not cook and innovate recipes because a lack of supplies.