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Latino Daily News

Tuesday September 7, 2010

Chavez Introduces Food Card

Chavez introduces “Good Life Card” as a tool to make shopping for food easier but critics fear it could easily become a tool to control the population. Some fear it could be used to limit the citizen’s purchases in order to address the problem of inadequate supply levels.

``We see that in short-term this could become a rationing card probably similar to the one used in Cuba,’’ Roberto León Parilli, president of the National Association of Users and Consumers, told El Nuevo Herald. ``It would use more advanced technological means [than those used in Cuba], but when they tell you where to buy and what the limits of what you can buy are, they are conditioning your purchases.’’

Chavez said Tuesday that the card should be used to buy supplies at the government chain of markets and suppliers. The intent is to keep a better track of inventory and make it easier for the shoppers.

Critics point out the similarity of when Cuba began using a rationing card. ``The card emerged when goods began to become scarce,’’ Jaime Suchlicki, director of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. ``The government had seized many companies that did not work because the government managed them poorly. Then they decided to distribute groceries through those cards.’’  “Although the cards were introduced as a mechanism to deal with scarcities, “Suchlicki said, “they later became an instrument of control.”