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Food Truck Robberies Rise in Venezuela With Basics Shortages

 / Updated 
Patrons line up on a supermarket parking lot in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. The combination of shortages and spiraling inflation have shaken support for President Nicolas Maduro even among the poor who rely on the social programs launched by his mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Patrons line up on a supermarket parking lot in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. The combination of shortages and spiraling inflation have shaken support for President Nicolas Maduro even among the poor who rely on the social programs launched by his mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)Fernando Llano / AP

Crime is already a problem on Venezuela's roads and in its shops, and now trucks carrying food across the country are a target as shortages of basics like flour and chicken worsen.

A restriction on dollars for imports has worsened shortages since the start of the new year and food delivery has become increasingly risky, despite additions of GPS devices and in some cases accompaniment by private security guards.

"I won't transport food anymore because the streets are too dangerous," said Orlando Garcia, a 37-year-old driver from the western state of Tachira who has been ambushed twice.

"They put screws on the road (to burst your tires), and when you stop to fix the tire they attack you," said Garcia, who refuses to work past midnight and will only transport plastics.

Queues that stretch around blocks are now a common sight. Local media have reported several food robberies in Caracas this month, including one by four armed thieves who stole canned tuna, corn flour and refined sugar.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the scarcities on an "economic war" waged by right-wing foes trying to topple his socialist government. The government did not reply to a request for comment.

– Reuters

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