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IPFS News Link • Venezuela

How Security Woes Make a Food Crisis Even Worse

•, J.G. Martinez D

These issues produce a significant impact on the country's agriculture sector and particularly on local food producers, without access to large credits or other privileges. 

They face blackmail and bribery at roadblocks, adverse weather conditions, cattle theft, and other challenges.

Bribery at Roadblocks

One of the most significant security problems that local food producers in Venezuela face is bribery at roadblocks. In the worst of the severe economic crisis, which led not too long ago to shortages of basic goods like food and medicine, many people (this is still happening but to a lesser degree) resorted to smuggling food, fuel, and other essential commodities out of the country (to Colombia, mostly) to sell them at a higher price.

To control this illegal activity, the government had to set up numerous roadblocks across the country. However, these roadblocks became a breeding ground for bribery…and corruption. Local food producers who transport their goods from rural areas to cities often face harassment at these roadblocks. The officials manning the roadblocks have very low wages; then, they resource to demand bribes from the producers in exchange for allowing them to pass through.

This practice not only increases the cost of production for the farmers: they simply pass on this expense to the final customer but also discourages them from producing more food. It is not like this is something new; dishonest uniforms have been doing this since the Spanish crown times. But with the upcoming of these modern times, with all the societal control they grabbed, and with an International Court doing nothing (that is another history) until very recently, thanks to the good management of the new General Attorney, the situation became much more common. To make things worst (something this sort of regime seems to love), the words of the non-acknowledge "head" of State to the uniforms were: You will have to make money doing what you can because the country can't pay your salaries. Go figure.