Venezuela is running low on sugar. Amidst a humanitarian and political struggle, the state run producers of sugar in Venezuela announced earlier during the week they temporarily stopped production because of lacking raw sugar.
Coca-Cola FEMSA, the biggest worldwide bottler of Coke, lifted a big red flag late this week. To manufacture Coca-Cola in Venezuela, the FEMSA group needed industrial, refined sugar made by the government entity Venezuelan Agricultural Corporation in Sugar.
FEMSA, which is owned partly by Coca-Cola, said it would continue producing Coke in Venezuela until it runs out of its own stockpile of sugar. It said that it is seeking other sugar sources.
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said that while the ongoing situation will have an impact on the production of beverages that are sugar-sweetened, the production lines for beverages that are zero-sugar like bottled water and the new Coca-Cola Light continue to operate normally.
The scarcity of sugar is the most recent sign of the state of emergency that Venezuela is suffering from.
The country is also running low on many basic goods, not just sugar but in addition eggs, milk and flour. Medical supplies are hard to find, which had cost some people already their lives in the country.
Nicolas Maduro the Venezuelan President refuses to allow there to be a referendum vote as to whether he should just stay in office sparking protests that turned violent in Caracas, the country’s capital city.
Last week Maduro announced a state of emergency while blaming the Congress, which is led by the opposition, and foreign critics for the problems in the country.
It appears that Maduro is pulling all the stops out. Amidst a drought and government mismanagement, experts said. The Maduro government started running government blackouts of four hours per day across many cities except Caracas to save on energy.
To save more electricity, Maduro this past April announced a work week of 2-days for employees in the government as well as others.
He changed the time zone for Venezuela by 30 minutes forward to gain more daylight.
All these new developments come during a time when the economy in Venezuela was in a free fall.
The International Monetary Fund has projected that inflation would rise over 600% in 2016.
The economy is contracting, its currency is now worth less than one penny and many investors have bet it will be defaulting on debt by the end of 2016.
Pepsi reported a charge of more than $1.4 billion during last September for its Venezuela based business, citing the woes of the currency there.
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