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Venezuela weighs pet food price controls

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 5:14 PM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on January 8.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on January 8.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Venezuela's president says the country may control pet food prices
  • He announces the possibility as part of a program to help keep animals off the streets
  • Price controls have been a staple of Venezuela's economic policies

(CNN) -- Cats and dogs in Venezuela may soon get a taste of the South American country's brand of socialism.

President Nicolas Maduro announced plans Sunday to consider controlling pet food prices as part of efforts to help street animals.

Price controls have become a staple of Venezuela's economic policies, drawing praise from supporters of Maduro and his government who say they make items more affordable for the poor. Opponents have sharply criticized such policies, arguing that they fuel goods shortages and harm businesses.

Maduro mentioned the possibility of capping pet food prices after he announced the construction of six new veterinary centers and adopted a stray cat on government television at an event Sunday for the Mision Nevado, an animal-rights project named after a dog once owned by Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar.

Maduro said national and international media, which gave extensive coverage to the slaying of a well-known beauty queen and actress in Venezuela last week, would likely ignore the news.

"Everything that is good, that is beautiful, that we do in Venezuela is ignored by the media. ... Tomorrow you will not find any summary in the press," he said. "They are going to hide it. The media always hides the good of Venezuela."

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