Venezuelan President called 'the Grinch' after almost 4 million toys seized

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been branded "the Grinch who stole Christmas" after the country's consumer protection agency confiscated nearly four million toys.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been branded "the Grinch who stole Christmas" after the country's consumer protection agency confiscated nearly four million toys.PHOTO: REUTERS

VENEZUELA - The Grinch that stole Christmas - that is what some Venezuelans are calling the country's consumer protection agency and President Nicolas Maduro.

The agency confiscated nearly four million toys last week from toy distributor Kreisel-Venezuela, which was suspected of marking up prices for Christmas.

But the Sundde agency's confiscation of the toys means that many families are deprived of the seized toys this holiday season, CNN reported on Sunday (Dec 11).

The agency accused Kreisel of stockpiling toys and reselling them at a margin of up to 50,000 per cent, the BBC reported on Saturday.

A total of 3,821,926 toys were confiscated from two warehouses.

The toy distributor had claimed that the toys were old or discontinued, Sundde head William Contreras said in the BBC report.

The toys will be sold to families in poor neighbourhoods at low prices, but Venezuelans have hit out at the confiscation online, CNN said.

Twitter user Joli (@OlivasJudith) wrote on Sunday: "Now what? Is Nicolas Maduro the modern Grinch?"

A woman named Mivida tweeted that the President was "worse than the Grinch".

The news has spawned reactions online, with one video of President Maduro's face superimposed on the Grinch making its rounds on Twitter.

Toys are included in the list of regulated products that must be sold at government-approved prices in socialist Venezuela.

Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce president Francisco Fernandez told CNN that the government was acting irresponsibly.

"This was plundering of inventory. The government didn't even respect the company's right of due process," he said.

The South American country is experiencing triple-digit inflation and a collapsing currency which has led to food shortages.