Venezuelan government proposes grocery fingerprint system to combat shortages

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CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelans soon may need to have their fingerprints scanned before they can buy bread.

President Nicolas Maduro has announced a mandatory grocery fingerprinting system to combat food shortages.

He said late Wednesday the program will stop people from buying too much of a single item, but did not say when it would take effect.

The move was met with skepticism. Critics say the new system is tantamount to rationing, and constitutes a breach of privacy.

The socialist South American country has been grappling with shortages of basics like cooking oil and flour for more than a year. The administration blames the shortages on companies speculating and people smuggling subsidized staples out of the country.

In the spring, Venezuela tried a similar system in government-run supermarkets on a voluntary basis.

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