Twenty-six people have been arrested after inspections performed by Venezuela's government within the framework of its "war on speculation" launched earlier this month, a campaign which has resulted in business intervention, specifically in the electric appliances sector, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said Thursday.
The 26 people were "deprived of freedom for engaging in crimes of hoarding, usury and speculation" verified in 125 law enforcement operations, including 34 raids that have resulted in 73 court cases and 52 administrative cases, Ortega told Venezuela's Radio Nacional.
President Nicolas Maduro's administration is pursuing a campaign against high prices that has included actions such as a "civil-military" operation to occupy a major electric appliance chain in Caracas and the auditing of dozens of companies in that business sector.
The operations, which are continuing, were launched after the inflation data for October was published, figures that reflected a yearly accumulated inflation rate of 54.3 percent and 45.8 percent during the first 10 months of the year at a time when the illegal parallel dollar exchange rate has skyrocketed to up to 10 times the official rate of 6.3 bolivares.
The campaign also has included blocking Web pages on which the parallel dollar's bid and ask prices are quoted and even a request that Twitter block accounts linked with that kind of activity.
Currency controls have existed in Venezuela since 2003 resulting in a state monopoly on the management and administration of currency acquired via a number of different activities. EFE