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Venezuela

In Venezuela, 'Blackmailing Through Their Stomachs'

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El Nacional, June 9, 2016

Venezuelan daily El Nacional on Thursday features front-page clashes linked to the country's ongoing food shortages. "Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP) will control 70% of food staples," reads the lead headline of the Caracas daily that is close to the opposition.

The headline refers to the policy touted by Food Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres to have supplies distributed through local government committees to fight what President Nicolas Maduro has called the "economic war" gripping Venezuela. The government has blamed contraband for empty supermarket shelves, and has taken on the delivery to Venezuelans of a bag every 21 days filled with staple products such as rice, milk and beans.

But daily protests over food shortage have continued. The opposition says the government is "trying to create an absolute monopoly on the distribution of food" and that it is "blackmailing the people through their stomach."

Venezuela already has the highest inflation rate in the world, with 180.9% in 2015, and could reach 700% this year according to the International Monetary Fund.

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Ideas

A Writer's Advice For How To Read The Words Of Politics

Colombia's reformist president has promised to tackle endemic violence, economic exclusion, pollution and corruption in the country. So what's new with a politician's promises?

Image of Colombian President Gustavo Petro speaking during a press conference in Buenos Aires on Jan 14, 2023

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, speaks during a press conference in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 24, 2023.

Manuel Cortina/ZUMA
Héctor Abad Faciolince

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — Don't concentrate on his words, I was once advised, but look at what he's doing. I heard the words so long ago I cannot recall who said them. The point is, what's the use of a husband who vows never to beat his wife in January and leaves her with a bruised face in February?

Words are a strange thing, and in literal terms, we must distrust their meaning. As I never hit anyone, I have never declared that I wouldn't. It never occurred to me to say it. Strangely, there is more power and truth in a simple declaration like "I love her" than in the more emphatic "I love her so much." A verbal addition here just shrinks the "sense" of love.

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