Maduro Creates New Supply Mission as Fresh Imports Arrive from Trinidad & Tobago
by Lucas Koerner
Philadelphia, July 12, 2016 – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday the creation of a new state distribution program for food and medicine tasked with addressing the nation’s chronic scarcities.
The Great Sovereign and Secure Supply Mission
Known as the Great Sovereign and Secure Supply Mission, the program is aimed at promoting agricultural, industrial, and pharmaceutical production in order win what the president has termed an “economic war” waged by transnational firms against the leftist government.
“If we want peace, let’s win the economic war, let’s win the non-conventional war,” he said during a council of ministers meeting broadcast on state television.
Venezuela has been hard hit by a severe economic crisis triggered by the collapse of global crude prices – the country’s principal source of export earnings – which has led to soaring triple-digit inflation as well as acute shortages of food and medicine.
Maduro has blamed much of the crisis on economic destabilization by foreign transnationals, who he has accused of lining their pockets with state dollars yet refusing to invest in production and imports.
The new mission is intended to combat the country’s “criminal” black market economy believed to be driving inflation and will be headed by the presidential military command under Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
Six micro missions on school diet, hygiene, and medicines
Maduro further specified that the initiative will consist of six “micro-missions” dedicated to the production of seeds, animal protein, balanced food, cleaning and personal hygiene products, as well as the regionalizing of school meal menus and the supply of essential medicines.
In addition to promoting production and new mining activities, the Maduro government has also promised greater imports to offset the crisis’ impact on ordinary Venezuelans.
On Monday, the South American country received a much-anticipated shipment of 400 tons of food from Trinidad and Tobago as part of a US $26.9 million deal signed last month.
As a rentier oil exporting nation, Venezuela has for decades imported the majority of its foodstuffs, which has rendered the nation’s food supply network vulnerable to vicissitudes in the international crude market.