Shortage-plagued Venezuela nabs supermarket managers hoarding food

People queue outside a supermarket in Caracas where shelves are often bare in the recession-racked country (AFP Photo/Federico Parra) (AFP/File)

Caracas (AFP) - Managers of a state-run supermarket chain in Venezuela are among 49 people arrested for hoarding and re-selling food at a time of acute shortages, the government said.

The arrests were made in regions of the country where a chain called Bicentenario operates. Its director was arrested last month, also on suspicion of diverting for scalping products that are heavily subsidized.

Venezuela's economy is a mess, with rampant inflation and shortages of goods as basic as toilet paper and soap.

The global drop in oil prices has also hit the country hard, as petroleum accounts for 90 percent of its hard currency revenue.

Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez vowed to crack down on corruption in the country's food distribution system.

"The government guarantees food sovereignty," he said.

Some of those who arrests were announced Monday were taken away by police as employees looked on and cheered, according to a video shown by the minister.

Most of the detainees were supermarket managers, he said.