Venezuela Issues Voluntary ID Cards to Stop Hoarding

Image: Venezuela Tense As Unrest Over President Maduro's Government Continues
A shopper leaves a supermarket with groceries as others wait in line on March 2, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, and many basic food items such as flour, cooking oil and milk are often out of stock in stores. When local residents hear of the arrival of a new shipment, they line up for hours. John Moore / Getty Images

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Venezuela announced new measures on food and housing Tuesday, drawing criticism from those who say the government is moving toward "Cuba-style" socialism.

A new voluntary ID card system will track families' grocery store purchases to limit people from buying the same goods every day.The government says this is a necessary step to reduce the hoarding of groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally reselling at inflated prices.

Some working-class shoppers welcomed the plan. "The rich people have things all hoarded away, and they pull the strings," said Juan Rodriguez to the Associated Press.

But a local consumer watchdog, the National User and Consumer Alliance, said the move is reminiscent of Cuba and is rationing by another name.

On housing, a new law gives tenants living in their apartments for 20 years or more the unconditional right to buy their apartment at a "fair price" decided by the government. Landlords will have 60 days to propose a price or face a $40,000 fine at the official exchange rate. Property owners have said this will discourage investment and fuel growth of an illegal black market for rentals.

The measures come amid ongoing clashes; on Monday night, anti-government protesters set fire to cars and smashed store windows before being dispersed with water cannons.

In San Cristobal, considered the cradle of the protests, the Venezuelan National Guard was sent in to remove barricades and clear the streets.

-The Associated Press and NBC News' Mary Murray contributed to this report.