Venezuelan liquor rep is arrested after he warns that beer supplies are running low and complains about excessive liquor taxes and regulation
Without knowing the crimes alleged against him, the general director of the Venezuelan Federation of Liquor Producers (Fevelif) was arrested on July 24. According to local media, Fray Roa was to appear in court on July 27.
While there remains no stated justification for the arrest, Venezuelans haven’t failed to notice that it occurred right after Roa shared revelations with journalist Gabriela Frías on her television program Global Portfolio, broadcast on CNN en Español.
The industry representative complained about the lack of raw materials for the production of beer and malt in the country. Moreover, the businessman took the opportunity to announce a “zero-hour” (planned strike) to protest the critical situation Venezuelan liquor producers are facing.
Roa reported that the perilously low stocks of beer would only last until the first week of August, and explained that this is largely due to the non-payment of US$2.7 billion that the regime owes the brewing industry.
“Beer shortages will essentially force our sector to go broke; beer accounts for 70 percent of our sales,” Roa said.
Roa mentioned that there are other factors that undermine the industry, such as a 68 percent higher tax burden to be paid prior to the sale of the product. He also alluded to the tendency of the Interior Ministry to reduce opening hours for liquor stores, alongside a ballooning black market for illegal beverages that avoid both taxes and price controls.
On July 25, the Venezuelan Federation of Liquor Producers condemned the arrest of their chief spokesman, and reiterated through a statement their call for the “zero-hour” protest.
Credit: PanAm Post, http://panampost.com