"I've ordered the immediate occupation of this chain to offer its products to the people at fair prices"
Lunatic Socialist leader of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro who claims that Chavez appeared to him in bird form and threatened those who didn't vote for him with an ancient curse is at it again.
After nationalizing toilet paper, he has moved on to a military occupation of electronics stores.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the military "occupation" of a chain of electronics stores in a crackdown on what the socialist government views as price-gouging hobbling the country's economy.
The government arrested various managers of the five-store, 500-employee Daka chain and forced it to start selling products at cheaper prices from Saturday morning.
That brought crowds of bargain-hunters to Daka outlets.
"We're doing this for the good of the nation," said Maduro, who accuses rich businessmen and right-wing political foes backed by Washington of waging an economic "war" against him.
"I've ordered the immediate occupation of this chain to offer its products to the people at fair prices, everything. Let nothing remain in stock ... We're going to comb the whole nation in the next few days. This robbery of the people has to stop," he added in a speech late on Friday.
Soldiers stood on guard and organized queues at the company's flagship store in the capital, Caracas. In the central city of Valencia, Twitter users circulated photos and video of apparent looting at one Daka outlet.
Local media group Ultimas Noticias and some Twitter users reported theft at the store in Valencia. Video on the Internet showed people running out of the shop with TVs and other goods, and critics accused Maduro of promoting "organized looting."
Problem solved. If by problem, Maduro meant the availability of electronics in Venezuela. You can only loot stores so many times. And that time is usually one. And then you have to occupy them and start selling subsidized electronics.
If you set price controls, the stores will comply by only selling products where they retain their needed profit margin.
Of course to a liberal everything I just said is meaningless noise.
"Inflation's killing us. I'm not sure if this was the right way, but something had to be done. I think it's right to make people sell things at fair prices," said Carlos Rangel, 37, among about 500 people queuing outside a Daka store in Caracas.
Critics say Venezuela's runaway inflation - the annual rate is now 54 percent, the highest since Chavez came to power in 1999 - is due to economic mismanagement and the failure of socialist policies rather than unscrupulous retailers.
Under price controls set up a decade ago, the state sells a limited amount of dollars at 6.3 bolivars, but given the short supply, some importers complain they are forced into a black market where the price is nearly tenfold higher.
"Because they don't allow me to buy dollars at the official rate of 6.3, I have to buy goods with black market dollars at about 60 bolivars, so how can I be expected to sell things at a loss? Can my children eat with that?" added the businessman, who asked not to be identified.
So the whole thing will implode, piece by piece, and Maduro's grandstanding will make things that much worse.