Authorities find 1,103 containers with rotten food in Venezuelan seaport, 04th June 2010
Authorities of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) located on Thursday other 1,103 containers with out-of-date food in a courtyard adjacent to storage company Centro de Almacenes Congelados (Cealco), a subsidiary of state-run company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), located in the industrial area of La Belisa, Puerto Cabello, in central Carabobo state. With this new discovery, 2.300 shipping containers of rotten food have been found in the coasts of the state of Carabobo. On May 25, police officers investigating the theft of three containers of powdered milk found 1,197 shipping containers in warehouses owned by state-run food distribution network Pdval, which is attached to Pdvsa. Governor of Carabobo state Henrique Fernando Salas Feo described as "a perfect business" the reality that hides behind the containers found in Puerto Cabello with expired food. He reported that there are at least two procedures used by mafias linked to the government to get big profits under the guise of food imports for alleged distribution among poor people. First, "they use the foreign exchange system and buy food with preferential dollars at an official exchange rate of VEB 2.30 per US dollar, then, they purchase products at a price lower than they actually report, and finally they trade excess dollars at an exchange rate of VEB 8 per US dollar." In addition to that, the government has to pay USD 3,250 per day for the courtyards where containers are stored. Since there are 1,200 containers of food, storage costs amount to USD 3,900 per day, thus totaling over USD 117,000 per month that Pdvsa has to pay to Venezuelan ports authority Bolipuertos. Despite this complaint, President Hugo Chávez voiced on Thursday support for Minister of Energy and Petroleum Rafael Ramírez.