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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Chavez calls time on whisky boom
Venezuela is one of the world's top importers of whisky
Venezuelans are to face a limit on the amount of luxury goods they can import, says President Hugo Chavez.

He singled out the high consumption of whisky as an example of the way consumerism was harming society.

In 2006, Venezuelans drank 106m bottles of Scotch whisky - almost four per person, and nearly 10% of UK exports.

Mr Chavez said he was ashamed of this "excessive" consumption and would curb importers' access to dollars for purchasing whisky and other luxuries.

Rum idea?

Despite the president's brand of socialism, consumption of luxury goods is on the increase, the BBC's James Ingham reports from Caracas.

A strong economy, an overvalued currency and high inflation are leading to conspicuous spending and high demand for goods seen as status symbols.

Speaking on his weekly television and radio show, Mr Chavez said he would limit the amount of dollars available to importers, who have to apply to the government to change local currency at official rates.

This measure is unlikely to affect Mr Chavez's support base, generally the poorest people in the country, who more often drink beer and rum, our correspondent says.

His better-off, whisky-drinking opponents, however, are likely to be angered by the move, he adds.

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