Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.
Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government responded this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.
The government announced that bakeries would only be allowed to produce French bread and white loaves, or pan canilla, with government-imported flour. Two bakeries were already seized.
Juan Crespo, the president of the National Federation of Flour Workers, which represents 9,000 bakeries nationwide, said the government’s heavy hand isn’t going to solve the problem.
“The government isn’t importing enough wheat,” he said. “If you don’t have wheat, you don’t have flour, and if you don’t have flour, you don’t have bread,” affirming that the country needs at least 120 tons of wheat every month to cover basic demand.
Earlier this week, President Nicolás Maduro launched “Plan 700” against what he called a “bread war,” ordering officials to do spot checks of bakeries nationwide and to forbid people from standing in line for bread.
“The government is doing everything in its power to end the bread lines,” Crespo said, “but they’re looking at the whole thing backwards.” “The bakeries are showing the authorities that they have no bread inventory,” he said. “The government has to see the reality.”