BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Venezuela's socialist government has seized nearly 4 million toys from a private company and says it intends to hand them out as Christmas gifts to poor children this holiday season.
The country's fair pricing authority seized the toys from three warehouses run by Kreisel, Venezuela's largest toy distributor, on Friday. Two company executives were detained on suspicion of promoting price speculation.
Agency director William Contreras alleged that Kreisel underreported its inventory in order to sell some toys at higher prices. Kreisel has not commented officially beyond responding to Twitter messages of support.
Contreras said the seizure would teach companies "that you can't play with the rights of Venezuelans."
Authorities said local supply committees will be in charge of distributing the toys "fairly" to children.
Venezuela has been wracked by a deep economic crisis accompanied by shortages of goods ranging from food staples to medicine. In recent days President Nicolas Maduro ordered stores to lower their prices between 30 and 50 percent.