The first two trucks from Colombia carrying about 50 tons of ham arrived Friday night in Venezuela, according to source from the Colombian Customs Directorate on Saturday. “There are other trucks ready (to leave) but they have not finished the formalities”, the source added.
The lack of ham on the bone has led in recent days to small demonstrations in Venezuela, where people hoped that this commodity would be available and sold at subsidized prices for the end of the year, as promised by the Socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
President Maduro has acknowledged the snags in the distribution of the famous hams but he has put the problems on the account of an international boycott linked in his opinion to the severe financial sanctions imposed by Washington and a “sabotage” by Portugal, from which is imported the meat.
The Portuguese government does not have the power to “sabotage” imports of ham, responded the Portuguese authorities.
The Maduro government had said that if millions of families benefiting from a government food distribution program did not received their ham before the holidays, it was because Portugal had succumbed to “pressure” from the United States which has imposed an “economic war” on Venezuela.
However, the Venezuelan press is advancing another explanation. According to El Nacional, which includes information from a Portuguese media outlet, the ham were not delivered because the company was not paid. Venezuela would have a debt of about 40 million euros for previous orders.
Plunged into a deep political and economic crisis, Venezuelans face severe shortages of staple foods and medicines, while the IMF forecasts inflation of 2,300% in 2018.