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Maduro to Import $1 Billion in Food, Drugs as Venezuelans March

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A police office accepts a flower from a protester during a demonstration in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb. 17, 2014. Photographer: Meridith Kohut/Bloomberg

Venezuela’s government said it will import $1 billion of food and medicine to guarantee supplies for four months as the opposition plans to march today to protest shortages and inflation.

President Nicolas Maduro said in his Twitter he approved resources to import 4.5 billion bolivars ($715 million) in food and 2.2 billion bolivars of medicine. Vice President Jorge Arreaza will provide details, he wrote, saying additional measures will be announced during the day.

“I call on all to work, produce and sustain the pace of economic growth to satisfy the needs of our people,” Maduro wrote. “In these days of struggle against the fascist aggression and for peace in our homeland, we must remain loyal to the legacy of the people’s Bolivarian revolution.”

Members of the opposition for almost a week have been staging protests against the government. Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of opposition party Voluntad Popular, is urging Venezuelans to dress in white and march with him today from the upscale neighborhood of Chacao to downtown Caracas.

Maduro also called on oil workers to take to the street today in a move to counter the demonstrations by the opposition. On Feb. 12, three died as government supporters clashed with protesters.

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