Reports indicate that during a televised speech on November 9, President Nicolás Maduro threatened the opposition and private enterprises with adopting “radical measures” to punish entities allegedly waging an “economic war” against the country. Maduro stated that he would have an “ironclad attitude” against those purportedly aligned with the U.S. government in attempts to undermine the country’s finances. Furthermore, he called on private businesses to obey regulations regarding maximum prices for consumer products.
Maduro’s statement underlines the ongoing risk of expropriation and forceful seizure of private assets and property. In light of overall depletion in supermarkets and stores, his remarks also come as an attempt to intimidate private enterprises and businesses’ to procure groceries ahead of the Christmas season, traditionally exploited by the government to distribute propaganda amid low-income sectors of society. Bearing in mind that against the backdrop of hyperinflation products in a standard food basket are up to ten times higher than prices fixed by the government, Maduro will probably blame business owners for the country’s food shortages. In this respect, the government’s attempt to save face during the holiday season translates into a higher threat against business continuity in the country.