Venezuelan businessmen have taken advantage of his government’s quiet abandonment of price, currency and import controls to buy direct from US wholesalers including Costco and Walmart. It is a fascinating situation considering the mutual hostility between Venezuela and the US.
The goods are delivered to Florida-based door-to-door services run by Venezuelans. The products move in bulk via shipping companies with bases in south Florida who have this year enjoyed a 100 percent exemption of import duties and waiver of some paperwork at the Venezuelan end, the sources added.
“Everything our customers want from the United Sates, we’ve managed to offer here!” enthused Hector Mambel, who runs a shop in Puerto Cabello port with a “Mini Walmart” sign outside using the same design as the US giant he buys from. The shift shows how Venezuela’s economy is evolving to survive sanctions that have hit oil exports.
The trade from Florida does not violate Trump’s sanctions because they target business with Maduro’s government not with private entrepreneurs. It has, however, bemused some Venezuelans used to constant “anti-imperialist” rhetoric.
“I don’t understand this government that speaks ill of the ‘gringos’ and yet we now see US products abound in stores and everything is in dollars,” said teacher Ligia Martinez, 38, holding a bag with purchases of cereal, tuna and cake mix.