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Chávez Watch: president threatens to nationalize cows

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez raised the regulated price of milk and threatened to seize dairies that tried to charge more as he attempted to increase milk supplies.

The president believes that private milk processors, cattle farmers and landowners are holding back milk supplies in an attempt to increase prices and destabilize the government. The socialist president, who first introduced price controls in 2003, raised milk prices by 36% and also said he would offer agricultural producers loans with an interest rate of 4% and a two-year grace period to help increase output.

The government has said it is working to eliminate milk shortages to lower Venezuela’s inflation rate – the highest in Latin America at about 20%. But Chávez did not address the impact that a jump in milk prices would have on inflation.

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