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Can’t drink to this: Venezuelans could be facing severe beer shortage

  • beer latino 3.jpg

    (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images) (2014 Getty Images)

As Venezuela suffers from a severe economic crisis, many locals have been commiserating in bars across the country overflowing with a wide variety of frothy beers.

鈥淏eer is the best beverage there is to enjoy a chat with friends,鈥 Alfredo Ram铆rez, 29, told Fox News Latino with a beer in hand at El Le贸n, a popular bar in the east of Caracas that at one time sold about 300 cases a week.

Venezuelans have had reason to drown their sorrows after dealing with a slew of shortages 鈥 including milk, toilet paper, diapers, medicine and basic beauty products. But now, they are trying to figure out how to deal with the country鈥檚 newest crisis: a dearth of beer.

鈥淚 travel a lot for work, and in the last two weeks I haven鈥檛 found beer in many bars of Aragua, Gu谩rico (states in the center of the country) and Caracas,鈥 Ram铆rez said. 鈥淭hat upsets me, because beer is the No. 1 drink in Venezuela.鈥

The country鈥檚 largest beer distributor, Empresas Polar, has been battling with union workers with close ties to the government who have been demanding higher wages. Union workers at the company, which distributes about 70 percent of the nation鈥檚 beer, have shut down breweries and distributors to try to force the company to approve a new contract 鈥 a move that has threatened to deplete the country鈥檚 beer supply.

The company has said the union鈥檚 actions are 鈥減olitical.鈥

Local beer makers have been unable to buy basic staples like barley and malt, and aluminum needed for cans is in very short supply. Inflation has also been nearing triple-digit levels, prompting the country to spiral into an ever-worsening crisis.

Daniel De Souza, manager of El Le贸n, said the bar is already having a difficult time trying to find certain types of beer. He said distributors have told him that by the end of July the shipments, which have already started to slow down, might stop.

鈥淚n the past we only sold beer in bottles, now we offer cans or whatever options we can find to satisfy clients,鈥 De Souza said. 鈥淒istributors treat us better because we have been in this business for years, but other bars and restaurants already ran out of beer.鈥

People have been trying to adapt to the situation, and some are making light of it. A common joke people tell: 鈥淚f the beer runs out in this country, the government will be overthrown.鈥

Other beverages, like whiskey, are also difficult to find but much more expensive. A bottle of Scotch can cost up to 12,000 Bolivars, or about $1,700 at the official exchange rate. Prices are expected to increase in the coming months because of new taxes imposed on alcohol sales.

Given the high cost, the Venezuelan Federation of Liquor Stores (Federaci贸n Venezolana de Licorer铆as y Afines) said whiskey consumption dropped last year, while cheaper beverages, like beer, increased dramatically.

But now that option seems to be slipping away.

鈥淟ast year we received more than 60 cases of beer weekly. Now we’re getting between 20 and 30. This week we didn鈥檛 get anything,鈥 said Jorge Arabia, who works at the L铆der Liquor Store in Caracas.

Aurelio De Freitas, owner of a liquor store and a bar in Los Palos Grandes, in the east of Caracas, is facing the same problem.

鈥淚 am receiving 20 percent of the merchandise that I used to get in the past,鈥 he said. 鈥淭he situation is worst with pilsner beer, which is the most popular, and now you can鈥檛 find it.鈥

To deal with the situation, stores are beginning to ration their sales. Arabia said that L铆der is only allowing customers to buy two six-packs, while De Freitas, whose store is also an official Polar distributor that sells to small restaurants, is selling a maximum of 10 cases to each costumer.

鈥淚n the past, we used to sell around 150 to 200,鈥 De Freitas said.

For now, Venezuelans are trying to make do.

鈥淚f they don鈥檛 have the beer I like, I order another. If they don鈥檛 have any, I drink sangria. Other alcoholic beverages are really expensive right now,鈥 said Gilberto Rivero, while holding a beer at another Caracas bar, La California.

But others argue that beer is 鈥渋rreplaceable.鈥 Miguel Castillo, 25, who was drinking at El Le贸n with a friend, said the beer shortage will likely disrupt social gatherings.

He brought up the joke about the shortage of beer threatening the country’s Chavista regime.

鈥淭his is what we have been waiting for,鈥 he said. 鈥淲hen the beer runs out, let’s see what happens with the government.鈥

But supporters of the government were more optimistic. Carlos Garc铆a, 29, who was drinking at El Le贸n, believes that beer won’t run out, 鈥渂ecause we are Venezuelans and revolutionaries.鈥

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@PatrideCeballos @liliantintori Mass Protests Back the Hunger Strike of Venezuela鈥檚 Political Prisoners

Leopoldo L贸pez and Daniel Ceballos Fast for Release, an Election Date

Many thousands of Caracas residents came together with Leopoldo L贸pez's wife Lilian Tintori (pictured) to demonstrate their support for her husband and other political prisoners in Venezuela. (<a href="https://www.facebook.com/liliantintorioficial/photos/pb.135171103876.-2207520000.1433080716./10152987668378877/" target="_blank">Lilian Tintori</a>)

Venezuelan political prisoners, with Leopoldo L贸pez and Daniel Ceballos taking the lead, remain adamant in their hunger strike. It will not end until the National Electoral Council sets a date for congressional elections this year, and until the 79 political prisoners in the South American nation are freed.+

That was the message conveyed by L贸pez鈥檚 wife, Lilian Tintori, during the #30MVamosTodos(let鈥檚 go everyone) mass demonstration on Saturday, May 30. The show of support took place in Caracas and at least 10 other cities in Venezuela, along with more than 20 other cities throughout the world. Venezuelans and sympathizers gathered to call on the international community and the regime of Nicol谩s Maduro to respect the rule of law.+

Exiles from Venezuela and sympathizers gather at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santiago, Chile, to express their support for the demands of the #30MVamosTodos demonstration. "Right away: a date for congressional elections." (Cientochenta Foundation)

Tintori was one of four speakers at the Caracas demonstration 鈥 alongside Patricia de Ceballos, mayor of San Crist贸bal and wife of Ceballos; Mitzy Capriles, wife of political prisoner and Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma; and opposition leader Mar铆a Corina Machado 鈥 and she announced an upcoming day of fasting as a show of solidarity with Venezuelan political prisoners: 鈥淣either Daniel nor Leopoldo have eaten anything in the about a week now, and we shall stand with them.鈥+

Tintori called on Venezuelans to 鈥渂e on alert for actions to be announced. All will be peaceful, and we do not want anyone to close the streets or set fire to tires. We shall go home peacefully, and return to streets peacefully again in the coming days.鈥+

Prior to the event, Tintori requested that participants dress in white and carry flowers, since Maduro鈥檚 officials constantly accuse the opposition of having a violent agenda.+

Now, she wants to see a united front among campaigners for the rule of law and democratic accountability: 鈥淭he regime wants us to fragment. I pledge to unity, pledge to peace, pledge to freedom for Venezuela.鈥+

Beyond L贸pez and Ceballos, eight other individuals in Venezuela are engaged in the hunger strike, including one lady. She began her fast on Saturday, across from the headquarters of the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Caracas.+

鈥淚 call on three women,鈥 Tintori said, 鈥淒ilma Roussell, president of Brazil, Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, and Christina Fern谩ndez, president of Argentina 鈥 that they come to Venezuela and help in this social, political, and economic crisis.鈥+

The name of Argentinean head of state, in contrast to those of Brazil and Chile, drew an echoing boo throughout the crowd of approximately 10,000. They gathered on Francisco de Miranda Avenue, in the east of the Venezuelan capital.+

The gathering highlighted the 鈥marcha de las cabezas rapadas鈥 (march of the buzz cuts), in support of Ceballos. Prison officials transferred him a week prior to the dangerous Ramo Verde Military Prison, away from where he was in touch with L贸pez and 110 kilometers from Caracas.+

The former mayor of San Crist贸bal (succeeded by his wife) has completed his one-year sentence, but continues to be held. With his arrival at the new prison, guards had his hair cut down to a zero, as occurs with many common inmates.+

At the protest, therefore, Freddy Guevara of the Caracas municipal council had his hair cut in a full buzz cut. He called on others to do the same as an act of solidarity.+

Adding clout to the event, ex-presidents Andr茅s Pastrana of Colombia and Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, attended personally. They had sought to visit with the two prisoners, but were not permitted by Chavista authorities. Quiroga called on the local media to make their presence felt when it came to the suffering of the political prisoners.+

The political party of L贸pez and Ceballos, Popular Will, sponsored the event, which did not receive the support of other opposition parties in the Democratic Unity Roundtable. The other parties permitted freedom of conscience for members to attend, and opposition leader and Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles had announced his presence. However, he did not show, or at least was not among the lineup of speakers.+

Both the demonstrations and the hunger strike have come with four demands: a date for congressional elections this year; observation of the elections by the Organization of American States and the European Union; the release of all political prisoners; and an end to all repression and political persecution of the opposition.+

Venezuela 鈥淚s a Dictatorship鈥

Patricia de Ceballos, sporting a shortened haircut of her own, called attention to the case of her husband, in his eighth day of hunger strike: 鈥淒aniel is stuck in a dump, and they are violating his rights. We call for respect towards the dissidents, a free press, and until then we will not stop the hunger strike.鈥+

鈥淥ne must say clearly,鈥 she added, 鈥渢his is a dictatorship!鈥 and the demonstrators echoed the cry.+

In a call for support from the rest of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the mayor said 鈥渨e don鈥檛 want unity in the cemetery, when we are burying my husband. We want unity now 鈥 there is no time to get caught up in chitchat.鈥+

Machado joined the chorus and proclaimed that 鈥渢he transition has already begun, because the regime is crumbling.鈥 She wants people to participate in this process and concern themselves with the reconstruction of the nation: 鈥淲e are not going to abandon the streets, nor shall we let go of the peaceful battle.鈥+

San Crist贸bal Mayor Patricia de Ceballos cut her hair to show support for her husband, who has been moved to an isolated and dangerous prison.

鈥淲e Are Tired鈥

The PanAm Post, present at the Caracas demonstration, sought the views of various attendees. One was Mar铆a Auxiliadora Garc铆a, a bio-analyst at a public hospital. She shared that she was tired of having to queue for everything, and that the regime had 鈥渄estroyed the nation.鈥+

鈥淚t feels like being in prison in Venezuela, because now you cannot even travel abroad. When I graduated 30 years ago, I earned a salary of about US$2,000 per month, and now about $15. There is no rule of law here.鈥+

On the other hand, Joicy Yanes (who preferred to withhold his real name), works in the Caracas municipal office of Libertador, which is headed by Jorge Rodr铆guez, one of the highestChavistas on the totem pole: 鈥淪ixteen years have passed fighting against this, and never has this nation been worse. Now people are invading the building next to my own house, and crime is overwhelming. Right here, we feel fear. I want a nation in which my children don鈥檛 have fear, in which they can study and dream of a future better than what I have.鈥

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Henri Ramos: Ojal谩 Maduro reclamara a Obama la explotaci贸n del Esequibo

Mar, 07/04/2015 – 10:12

El diputado a la Asamblea Nacional, Henri Ramos Allup, expres贸 este martes a trav茅s de su cuenta en Twitter, sus deseos de que el presidente venezolano reclame en las pr贸xima Cumbre de las Am茅ricas, la explotaci贸n del Esequibo por parte de Guyana.

Henri Ramos resalt贸 que el reclamo es propicio realizarlo en la pr贸xima Cumbre de las Am茅ricas en Panam谩禄Ojal谩 en reuni贸n de Panam谩 Maduro reclamara a Obama, la explotaci贸n petr贸leo en nuestro Esequibo por empresa norteamericana favorecida por Guyana con apoyo de Cuba禄, refiri贸 el dirigente opositor.

Asimismo, el diputado afirm贸 que Guyana es 芦amiga禄 de Venezuela para lucrarse pero enemiga cuando aprovecha con apoyo de Cuba, la explotaci贸n petr贸lera por empresas norteamericanas en el Esequibo venezolano.

Del mismo modo, mencion贸 que Venezuela ha perdido parte del reclamo del Esequibo gracias al fallecido presidente Hugo Ch谩vez. 芦La entrega del Esequibo y la renuncia a la hist贸rica reclamaci贸n de Venezuela, fue consumada por Ch谩vez por instancias de Fidel Castro禄, asegur贸.

Agreg贸 que en la reuni贸n de la Cumbre Grupo de R铆o el 08 de marzo de 2008 Ch谩vez deslegitim贸 el reclamo hist贸rico de Venezuela sobre la zona en reclamaci贸n.

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Caracas es la tercera ciudad m谩s barata del mundo (en d贸lar Simadi, claro nada mas)

Caracas

08/03/2015

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CARACAS VISTA DESDE LA TORRE DE DAVID
CRISIS ECON脫MICA | DEVALUACI脫N | EXTRANJEROS EN VENEZUELA |

La encuesta Worldwide Cost of Living, que semestralmente presenta la Unidad de Inteligencia de la revista The Economist, arroj贸 que Singapur es la ciudad m谩s cara del mundo, en tanto que Karachi (Pakist谩n) es la m谩s barata, seguida por Bangalore y Caracas.

La capital de Venezuela pas贸 de ser una de las m谩s caras del mundo para los visitantes a estar entre las m谩s baratas, gracias a la macro devaluaci贸n que representa el d贸lar oficial Simadi (por encima de Bs 170), que permite a extranjeros gastar libremente con sus tarjetas de cr茅dito y cambiar de forma legal a una tasa m谩s pr贸xima a la del d贸lar paralelo, seg煤n analistas venezolanos.

Seg煤n rese帽a el medio mexicano El Economista, citando a The Economist, en Singapur, el costo de una botella de vino, un paquete de cigarros y un kilo de pan es de US$40 estadounidenses en promedio, mientras que en Karachi, los mismos productos cuestan US$17.50.

Estos son algunos datos del m谩s reciente estudio Worldwide Cost of Living (Encuesta de costo de vida mundial), que presenta semestralmente la Unidad de Inteligencia de la revista The Economist. El estudio muestra las 10 ciudades del mundo en donde resulta m谩s caro y m谩s barato vivir en el 2015.

Esta lista es el resultado de una comparaci贸n de los precios de 160 productos y servicios como precios de comida, bebidas, ropa, vivienda, educaci贸n, entretenimiento y servicios b谩sicos en cada una de las 130 ciudades analizadas.

El Worldwide Cost of Living toma como base a Nueva York, ciudad que se encuentra en el puesto 22 este a帽o, y a Singapur como la ciudad m谩s cara del mundo por segundo a帽o consecutivo, seguida de Par铆s y Oslo.

Tokio, que se hab铆a mantenido entre las primeras diez posiciones durante los 煤ltimos a帽os, se encuentra ahora en onceava posici贸n y el estudio atribuye el declive a la devaluaci贸n del yen.

Las 10 ciudades m谩s caras para vivir y su puntuaci贸n con respecto a New York (100) son las siguientes:

Singapur, Singapur (129)
Par铆s, Francia (126)
Oslo, Noruega (124)
Zurich, Suiza (121)
Sydney, Australia (120)
Melbourne, Australia (118)
Ginebra, Suiza (116)
Copenhague, Dinamarca (115)
Hong Kong, China (113)
Se煤l, Corea del Sur (113)
Las ciudades m谩s baratas, seg煤n el estudio, son:

Karachi, Pakist谩n (44)
Bangalore, India (44)
Caracas, Venezuela (45)
Mumbai, India (45)
Chennai, India (46)
Nueva Delhi, India (48)
Damasco, Siria (49)
Teher谩n, Ir谩n (49)
Katmand煤, Nepal (51)
Argel, Argelia (52)

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A 15 muertes violentas aumenta el promedio diario en Gran Caracas

imb0302

420 cad谩veres ingresaron a la Morgue de Bello Monte en febrero, con 15 muertes violentas en promedio cada d铆a en Gran Caracas. El promedio sigue aumentando. Fueron 14 v铆ctimas diarias en enero. Este a帽o han sido asesinados en la Gran Caracas 27 funcionarios de los cuerpos de seguridad del Estado y 33 mujeres.

 

 

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Mr. Maduro in His Labyrinth

A line to buy basic goods in Caracas, Venezuela CreditJorge Silva/Reuters

Framed portraits of the Venezuelan leader Hugo Ch谩vez were propped up at various stops of President Nicol谩s Maduro鈥檚 recent whirlwind trip abroad, as the man at the helm of the nation with the world鈥檚 largest oil reservesbegged for bailouts.

Posters of his predecessor also abounded when Mr. Maduro, a former bus driver, arrived home to a carnival-like welcome, as he drove the lead coach of a convoy that snaked through crowds of supporters.

Last week, in a speech before lawmakers, Mr. Maduro, whose approval rating has slipped to 22 percent as the Venezuelan economy teeters on the brink of collapse, again invoked his mentor in predicting a landslide victory in upcoming parliamentary elections. 鈥淚 have no doubt that Ch谩vez鈥檚 nation will deliver a great victory in the memory of Hugo Ch谩vez in elections that are being held this year,鈥 he said.

Since he was voted into office in April 2013 by a minuscule margin after Mr. Ch谩vez鈥檚 death, Mr. Maduro has leaned heavily on the legacy of his predecessor, a populist who governed poorly but had magnetic charisma and shrewd political instincts. Woefully lacking on both fronts, Mr. Maduro has become increasingly erratic and despotic in a quest for political survival that seems more daunting by the day. Healthy oil export revenue allowed Mr. Ch谩vez to build a robust network of patronage and create generous welfare programs during his 14 years in power. Those are becoming increasingly paltry on Mr. Maduro鈥檚 watch.

The tumbling price of oil, which accounts for 95 percent of Venezuela鈥檚 export earnings, has nearly destroyed an economy that has been managed dismally for years. Inflation rose to 64 percent last year. On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund predicted that Venezuela鈥檚 economy would contract 7 percent in 2015, which could force Mr. Maduro鈥檚 government to default on its loans or significantly curtail the subsidized oil his country provides to allies in the Caribbean, including Cuba.

Mr. Maduro has been vague about the type of painful economic measures his government has been willing to embrace, yet he bafflingly has promised to expand social programs and raise salaries. Far from acknowledging responsibility for the crisis, he and his loyalists have blamed the revenue shortfalls on political opponents they accuse of enabling an international conspiracy.

They have jailed one of the most prominent figures in the opposition, Leopoldo L贸pez, since last February on trumped up charges of stoking violent protests a year ago. During Mr. L贸pez鈥檚 Kafkaesque trial, which is still in process, prosecutors have argued that he instigated bloodshed through subliminal messages.

Last month, the authorities in Venezuela charged another opposition leader, Mar铆a Corina Machado, with plotting to assassinate Mr. Maduro 鈥 a ludicrous, unfounded allegation against another inspiring challenger.

The crackdown on the opposition, unobstructed by a weak and compromised press, appears to be an effort to divert attention from Venezuelans鈥 deteriorating quality of life. Security forces have been deployed to maintain order outside supermarkets, where people line up for hours to scrounge whatever is left on depleted shelves.

On a recent afternoon, a Venezuelan woman who had been waiting in line since 4 a.m. showed a television journalist from Al Jazeera English her forearm, where someone had written the number 413 with a black marker to establish her place in line. 鈥淣ow we are like cattle,鈥 the woman lamented. 鈥淭his must end.鈥

Hours later, Mr. Maduro鈥檚 government responded with its standard effort to find a scapegoat for the national calamity. The head of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, in a televised address, called the journalist, M贸nica Villamizar, an American spy.

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