“Milestone of Dubious Distinction:” Venezuela Joins North Korea and Cuba in Food Rationing

(p. A15) MARACAIBO, Venezuela–Amid worsening shortages, Venezuela recently reached a milestone of dubious distinction: It has joined the ranks of North Korea and Cuba in rationing food for its citizens.
On a recent, muggy morning, Maria Varge stood in line outside a Centro 99 grocery store, ready to scour the shelves for scarce items like cooking oil and milk. But before entering, Ms. Varge had to scan her fingerprint to ensure she wouldn’t buy more than her share.
Despite its technological twist on the old allotment booklet, Venezuela’s new program of rationing is infuriating consumers who say it creates tiresome waits, doesn’t relieve shortages and overlooks the far-reaching economic overhauls the country needs to resolve the problem.
“These machines make longer lines,” said Ms. Varge, 50, as she was jostled by people in line, “but you get inside, and they still don’t have what you want.”

For the full story, see:
SARA SCHAEFER MUÑOZ. “WORLD NEWS; Despite Riches, Venezuela Starts Food Rationing; Government Rolls Out Fingerprint Scanners to Limit Purchases of Basic Goods; ‘How Is it Possible We’ve Gotten to This Extreme’.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., Oct. 23, 2014): A15.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 22, 2014.)

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