Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro waged a war on bread and has unleashed his authorities on the bakers. These officials arrested four bakers after they did not use wheat in regular bread:

Two of the four bakers were detained for making illegal brownies after the government ruled that 90 percent of wheat must be used for loaves of ordinary bread to tackle the chronic shortage of basic foodstuffs. Venezuela has been crippled by out-of-control inflation brought about by collapsing oil prices, and economic mismanagement by President Maduro’s socialist government.

Price and currency controls have failed, leading to long queues to buy basic foods and consumer products in the capital, Caracas, and elsewhere.

Mr Maduro sent inspectors and soldiers to more than 700 bakeries this week, threatening to take them over if they did not comply with new rules. “Those behind the bread war are going to pay, and don’t let them say later it is political persecution,” he warned at the start of the week.

Two men were arrested because their bakery was using too much wheat for sweet bread, ham croissants and other products, the Superintendency of Fair Prices said yesterday. Two other bakers were detained for making brownies with out-of-date wheat, it said, adding that at least one bakery had been taken over by the authorities for 90 days.

The union representing these bakers have demanded a meeting with Maduro. They need him to understand that the bakers cannot stay in business “without selling more expensive products such as croissants and cakes.”