Maduro in crackdown under Venezuela emergency decree

Sun 15 May 2016 at 09:14 International
NNA - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a sweeping crackdown Saturday under a new emergency decree, ordering the seizure of paralyzed factories, the arrest of their owners and military exercises to counter alleged foreign threats.


The embattled leftist is struggling to contain a raging economic crisis that has led to food shortages, soaring prices, riots, looting and vigilante justice, pushing Venezuela to the brink of collapse.


He accused the United States on Friday of destabilizing the country at the behest of the "fascist Venezuelan right," prompting him to declare a state of emergency.


Addressing his supporters at a rally in central Caracas on Saturday, Maduro announced some of the actions to be taken under the decree, which has not yet been published.


"We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie," he told the cheering, red-clad crowd.


"Anyone who wants to halt (production) to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV (Venezuelan General Penitentiary)."


The move comes after the largest food and beverage company in Venezuela, the Polar Group, halted production of beer on April 30, saying government mismanagement meant it was no longer able to import barley.


The company's owner, billionaire businessman Lorenzo Mendoza, is a vocal opponent of Maduro, and the president has accused him of conspiring against his government.


Maduro also ordered military exercises next Saturday "to prepare ourselves for any scenario," denouncing alleged plans for an "armed intervention."--AFP


==================R.H.

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