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Maduro government ‘occupies’ Venezuela electronics chain

Venezuelan soldiers control the crowd as people wait to shop for electronic goods outside a Daka store in Caracas

(Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the military “occupation” of a chain of electronic goods stores in a crackdown on what the socialist government views as price-gouging hobbling the country’s economy.

Various managers of the five-store, 500-employee Daka chain have been arrested, and the company will now be forced to sell products at “fair prices,” Maduro said late on Friday.

Soldiers immediately began guarding the stores.

On Saturday morning, hundreds of bargain-hunters flocked to Daka shops to take advantage of the new, cheaper prices.

“We’re doing this for the good of the nation,” said Maduro, who accuses rich businessmen and right-wing political foes backed by Washington of waging an economic “war” against him.

“I’ve ordered the immediate occupation of this chain to offer its products to the people at fair prices, everything. Let nothing remain in stock … We’re going to comb the whole nation in the next few days. This robbery of the people has to stop.”

The measure, after weeks of warnings from the government of a pre-Christmas push against private businesses to keep prices down, recalled the sweeping and often theatrical takeovers during the 14-year rule of Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez….read more!

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