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Mainstream Media Disinforms on Food Siezures
Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2003

by Oscar Heck in CARACAS

According to local news broadcasts, Friday, the Venezuelan National Guard (GN) began taking over foodstuff, bottled water, soft drink and beer (Polar and Regional) warehouses/factories that were hoarding inventory that would ... under normal circumstances ... already be on the market.

However, what was patently ignored in all the publicity given the event around the world was that the procedure was accomplished with explicit court orders (based on charges of hoarding -- a common practice mostly ignored by former Venezuelan regimes), the GN (accompanied by a judicial witness and a representative from the Official Ombudsman's Office) presented themselves at the locations to take control of the redistribution of the illegally retained products. How and when the distribution of these products will begin is still to be seen.

According to a manager ay one of these operations, hoarding is not taking place, since the warehouse only contained about a half million liters of assorted beverages.

Another interesting item regarding these recent events is that Coca-Cola/Panamco (the local Cisneros Group owners) and Empresas Polar (the Mendoza family) began broadcasting a written statement thanking the Venezuelan public for supporting them in these hard times,  claiming that they have been doing their best to faithfully serve Venezuelans as they have always done and tried to do...

Panamco produces bottled water and amongst other things, Coca-Cola while Empresas Polar produces (again amongst other things) Polar beer and "malta" (a popular sweet beverage) as well as Harina PAN maize flour ... a basic Venezuelan staple.

According to government representatives, the GN will continue to take over those industries that have been illegally closed and are clearly suspect of hoarding huge quantities of foodstuffs from public consumption ... all with the proper court procedures and documents.

Readers abroad should note that industrial hoarding of basic foodstuffs has historically been one of the major instigators of mass riots ... the last occurrence in Venezuela was under the corrupt Presidency of Accion Democratica (AD) Carlos Andres Perez in February 1989, leaving an estimated 2,000 dead.

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