Venezuela’s government this week threatened to seize bakeries in the latest escalation of the country’s “bread war.” With an economic crisis that has left bread in short supply, the government of embattled President Nicolás Maduro has mandated that bakeries allocate 90 percent of the flour they receive to producing bread, with only the remaining 10 percent going toward sweet treats like pastries and cakes.
The bread shortages, the government claims, rest solely at the door of bakeries, which it accuses of putting profits ahead of servicing customers’ basic needs. The price of bread is controlled by the government.
Maduro announced Sunday that inspectors would be sent to 709 bakeries in the capital, Caracas. Those failing to comply with the regulations—and which continue to leave customers waiting in line for bread—have been threatened with fines and even expropriation.
“Speculators who hide the bread from the people will face the weight of the law,” Maduro said, according to the BBC. “They’re going to pay, I swear. Those responsible for the bread war are going to…