In theory, the government could begin to favor the import of products to be sold through the government chains and have more control over the type of products purchased and the people buying them.
Jaime Suchlicki, director of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, said that Venezuela's current problems of scarce supplies are very similar to those Cuba faced when Fidel Castro introduced the rationing card.
``The card emerged when goods began to become scarce,'' Suchlicki said. ``The government had seized many companies that did not work because the government managed them poorly. Then they decided to distribute groceries through those cards.''
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