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Venezuela seizes 4 million toys, will give them to poor kids

/ 11:46 AM December 11, 2016
Black Friday shoppers are seen shopping in the doll aisle of the Toys-R-US in Fairfax, Virginia on November 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS

Toys line the shelves of a store in Virginia in the United States ready for shoppers. Over in Venezuela, the socialist government seized four million toys from a distributor which it accused of price manipulation. The government said it would give away the toys to poor Venezuelan children.  AFP

BOGOTA, Colombia — Venezuela’s socialist government has seized nearly 4 million toys from a private company and says it intends to hand them out as Christmas gifts to poor children this holiday season.

The country’s fair pricing authority seized the toys from three warehouses run by Kreisel, Venezuela’s largest toy distributor, on Friday. Two company executives were detained on suspicion of promoting price speculation.

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Agency director William Contreras alleged that Kreisel underreported its inventory in order to sell some toys at higher prices. Kreisel has not commented officially beyond responding to Twitter messages of support.

Contreras said the seizure would teach companies “that you can’t play with the rights of Venezuelans.”

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Authorities said local supply committees will be in charge of distributing the toys “fairly” to children.

Venezuela has been wracked by a deep economic crisis accompanied by shortages of goods ranging from food staples to medicine. In recent days President Nicolas Maduro ordered stores to lower their prices between 30 and 50 percent. CBB/rga

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