Bachelet, Trump discuss Venezuelan crisis in phone call

SANTIAGO – The looming economic crisis in Venezuela has alarmed U.S. President Donald Trump who shared his concerns with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in a telephonic conversation over the weekend.

“President Trump presented to me his worries about the situation in Venezuela,” Bachelet told reporters at the La Moneda presidential palace in Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Bachelet said both leaders held talks about the political and humanitarian situation in Venezuela, which is facing external pressure to make political reforms following the worst food crisis in decades.

“I told him about the actions our foreign ministry is carrying out together with other foreign ministries, and we are staying in contact to see how we can help Venezuela have a peaceful exit from its domestic situation,” the Chilean leader added.

Venezuela, home to more than 31 million people, has been facing severe shortages of basic goods for the last three years as it doesn’t produce its own wheat.

Last week, police in Venezuelan capital Caracas arrested four bakers for making “illegal brownies and other pastries” as part of President Nicolas Maduro’s “bread war”.

Venezuelan bakeries say Mr. Maduro’s socialist government is not importing enough flour for them to make it. On the other hand, the government insists and accuses bakeries of hoarding flour to destabilize the socialist ideas and using it in expensive cakes and pastries rather than cheap, subsidized bread.

During last week, more than 700 bakeries were visited and searched by food inspectors and armed soldiers to enforce the rule of Maduro who strongly criticize the United States for interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.