Venezuela’s tourism ministry has denied reports that a shortage of milk is behind the closure of a famous ice cream shop in the city of Merida.
Coromoto is famous for offering more than 850 flavors of ice cream ranging from beer to beans.
In a Facebook post on December 26, Coromoto announced that it would be closing “for the high season due to a lack of milk”.
However, the ministry says there is no shortage of ingredients and that other local ice cream shops remain open.
Venezuela, which depends on imports for many products, is experiencing shortages of some staples, such as corn oil and powdered milk.
This suggests that out of 100 goods, 29 were not always available everywhere at the time.
While this does not mean that Venezuelans cannot get access to food, it does mean that they may have to go to different supermarkets and search over several days to get everything on their shopping list.
Critics of socialist President Nicolas Maduro say government mismanagement is behind the scarcity.
The government blames unscrupulous businesspeople, who it says hoard goods to drive up prices.
Officials also point to the fact that up to 40% of goods Venezuela subsidizes for its domestic market are being smuggled into neighboring Colombia, further exacerbating the shortages.
In a statement published on its website, the tourism ministry said on December 29 that “despite the manipulation spread by a number of national and international media and the sign posted by the Coromoto ice cream shop, in which they blame their closure on a <<lack of ingredients>>, paradoxically the rest of these businesses is serving more and more tourists and residents as they have all that’s needed to prepare ice cream”.
The statement goes on to quote the managers of two ice cream shops in Merida who say they are open for business.
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