Día Día speaks

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(Día Día Practimercados is a small grocery store chain that caters to Venezuelans living in the country’s slums. Last week, they were taken over by the government. The firm put out a communiqué, and they reached out to us to ask if we would publish the English version. Here it is, in its entirety. Note that this is the version just as they sent it to me – any mistakes are theirs, not mine.)

DIA DIA PRACTIMERCADOS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC

Dia Dia has incurred in neither hoarding nor boycott practices as the government accuses us as part of its solution to the serious food scarcity situation in Venezuela.

Dia Dia Practimercados is a chain of 35 small high frequency stores throughout Venezuela, dedicated to serving the poorest sectors of the population by offering basic staples at fair and regulated prices in a worthy environment, very different from the shopping alternatives where we operate. From its beginnings in 2005, Dia Dia has grown to employ more the 800 people whose hard work and compromise help serve our clients nationwide.

According to best practices, our chain operates with logistic efficiencies through a unique central warehouse located in La Yaguara, Caracas. Our stores are small ( 3200 sq ft ) to be able to be located within popular sectors of the cities, with no ample deposits space thus requiring frequent deliveries ( 2 times per day to every other day) in order to be continuously well stocked. Therefore, it is completely normal that our central warehouse contains most of our stock to serve just a few days of sales. For example, for Harina Pan, corn flour and very popular product under price control, the warehouse holds no more than 3 days of stock for sales of 197 tons per day.

All products that enter our central warehouse are distributed to the stores. The government knows this very well given that all inventory movements, orders received from suppliers as well store fulfillments, require an special dispatch guide 100% authorized by the government through a system called SICA. Therefore, it knows real time all goods movements, quantities and type of products that enter and exit our
warehouse.

The Government through the Ministry of Food (and agency SUNDEE) performed on Sunday February 1st, an additional legal inspection to the chain for which we gave total support and opened our facilities, including our central warehouse. Despite our full collaboration, more than 40 employees including stores and logistic managers were irregularly detained for questioning. As of today our CEO Manuel Morales is still being
held at SEBIN jail. (a special government police force ) . Mr Morales was detained Monday morning as he exits the Miraflores Government Palace after a meeting between the ministry and a group of supermarket chains. We are making use of all legal resources
to ensure his prompt liberation.

None of the three proceedings performed by SUNDEE were able to prove any wrong doing by Dia Dia. Therefore, ¿Why are we persecuted by doing the right thing? This is a business. It just doesn’t make sense to hoard or boycott when more than 70% of the portfolio is under price controls. Our goal is to sell.

Dia Dia, since its foundation, has served its purpose to distribute food and quality products on a daily basis to the poorest sectors of the population. Dia Dia has fulfilled all labor regulations and responsibilities with its employees, with suppliers, and with national and municipal fiscal obligations.

We are Dia Dia, young, honest, professional and hard working people. We stand with our heads up high as we want to continue to grow and provide our valuable service to the poor, each day, efficiently, according to law, just as we have done for the last 10 years.

Dia Dia Management Team

1 COMMENT

    • Another one: Double negatives made the following sentence misleading.

      “Dia Dia has not incurred in neither hoarding nor boycott practices as the government accuses us as part of its solution to the serious food scarcity situation in Venezuela.”

  1. “Dia Dia’s” big mistake in this communique is saying, “We are…honest, professional and hard working people.”–everything the Govt. is not, and is against.

  2. No, I think everyone is missing the point here. Just imagine for a minute here that the ‘official’ currency of Venezuela were the US Dollar, or even the Euro. The owners of Dia Dia would be nuts not to sell everything they had, and as quickly as it came through the door. More check-out lanes would have been opened, more cashiers hired and longer store hours would become the norm. In a word: capitalism. It is the Bolivar that is the problem, with very little international value and the government printing them as fast as will roll through the printing presses….

  3. From 2002 to 2012, Chavez expropriated more than 1,600 companies. All of them composed of honest, professional and hard working people too. This just has been the standard policy since the early beginning, Día Día Practimercados is just arriving late at the party…

    Hopefully, they will be able to free their employees/CEO who are still in jail. But let’s be honest here, they are seals in a tank with sharks. It will be hard to win.

  4. They got them because they are a private company. I am waiting to see when they’ll take Polar. The whole world is watching the show and know that the lead players are idiots and crooks.

  5. another PUDREVAL (for those not in the know, this is a play on the words PDVAL – the government-owned food distribution folks – and podrido – rotting.

    Forty-five tons of foodstuff, 15 tons of which were chicken and beef in a fermenting state, were found on Sunday, in trucks identified with the government logo PDVAL. Not the first time the public has come across this type of news. Might that be why the government so quickly pounced on a scapegoat (Manuel Morales of DíaDía?

    http://www.elpropio.com/actualidad/Encuentran-alimentos-podridos-camiones-PDVAL_0_680331968.html

  6. Since Juan is not in the business of translating, and per his request, I’m posting a tweaked version of the above post. Hope I got most of the nitpicking right:

    Dia Dia has not incurred in hoarding or boycott practices, as the government accuses us of doing, as part of its solution to the serious food scarcity situation in Venezuela.

    Dia Dia Practimercados is a chain of 35 small high frequency stores throughout Venezuela, dedicated to serving the poorest sectors of the population by offering basic staples, at fair and regulated prices, in a deserving environment.

    Located within low-income sectors of the cities, our stores are small ( 3200 sq ft ) and have limited space for warehousing, thus we require frequent deliveries (from 2 times per day to every other day) in order to be continually well stocked. Therefore, it is completely normal that our central warehouse contains most of our stock to serve just a few days of sales. For example, the warehouse holds no more than 3 days of stock of Harina Pan corn flour (a very popular product under government price control) for sales of 197 tons per day.

    All products that enter our central warehouse are distributed to the stores. The Government knows this very well, given that all inventory movements, orders received from suppliers, as well store fulfillments, require a special dispatch guide, which is 100% authorized by the Government through a system called SICA. Therefore, the Government knows in real time the movement of all goods, as well as the quantities and type of products that enter and exit our warehouse.

    Through the Ministry of Food (and agency SUNDEE), the Government performed on Sunday, February 1st, an additional legal inspection to the chain, for which we gave total support and opened our facilities, including our central warehouse. Despite our full collaboration, more than 40 employees, including stores and logistic managers, were irregularly detained for questioning. The following morning, our CEO Manuel Morales was detained as he exited the Government Palace of Miraflores, after a meeting between the Ministry and a group of supermarket chains. As of today Mr. Morales is still being held at jail facilities by the SEBIN (a special government police force) . As such, we are making use of all legal resources to ensure his prompt liberation.

    None of the three proceedings performed by SUNDEE were able to prove any wrong doing by Dia Dia. Therefore, why are we persecuted for doing the right thing? This is a business. It just doesn’t make sense to hoard or boycott when more than 70% of the portfolio is under price controls. Our goal is to sell.

    Since its foundation, Dia Dia, has been serving its purpose: to distribute food and quality products on a daily basis to the poorest sectors of the population. Dia Dia has fulfilled all labor regulations and responsibilities with its employees, with its suppliers, and with its national and municipal fiscal obligations.

    We are Dia Dia, young, honest, professional and hard working people. We hold our heads up high as we want to continue to grow and provide our valuable service to the poor, each day, efficiently, according to the law, just as we have done for the last 10 years.

    Dia Dia Management Team

    • Syd,

      Good translation, but:

      1. In the first paragraph, change “incurred in” to “engaged in”.

      2. In the third from last paragraph, change “…why are we persecuted…” to “…why are we being persecuted…”.

      If this will be used for wider circulation, we should get it right.

      • Additional to prior nitpicking, a thought: First sentence: “Dia Dia has not incurred in hoarding or boycott practices, as the government accuses us of doing, as part of its solution to the serious food scarcity situation in Venezuela.:

        “Dia Dia has not engaged in any … practices as the government accuses IT of having done.”

    • Evidently, the Spanish version is a little more precise than the English translation that was sent to Nagel by whomever. And I wonder if Nagel edited his post subsequently, because my copy and paste of the early post, in order to tweak it is a little different, unless I’m hallucinating.

      Having said all this, both language versions clarify what’s happening from the victim’s point of view.

      I think that what Día Día Management team has done is brilliant: provide a communiqué of the events from their point of view and their mission statement. After all, if the government hides their total ineptitude at management for which they have no training or capability, their financial constraints caused by them that in turn are causing shortages, their sly use of media to create a theatre of operations in which they falsely accuse and arraign scapegoats, their kangaroo courts that finger-point using executive privilege, then let those scapegoats inform the public regarding their side of the events.

      As for the comments from dspur, one of the deluded poet-chavistas who hover over this blog and periodically provide their opinions in the commentariat, when not using diversionary tactics to cover up the “heat on the ground”, I note that his/her “Strange that businessmen would comment on the subject.” perfectly match a mind set. Those that gravitate to romantic populism, be they in Venezuela or abroad, have limited or no training, much less experience in what they speak of. The poor dears have been fed a matrix of opinion, by which they then think all businessmen are eeevil automatons with no capacity to think in general terms, or to emit an opinion.

  7. Nagel,

    About the first paragraph:

    – Yours:

    “Dia Dia has incurred in neither hoarding nor boycott practices as the government accuses us as part of its solution to the serious food scarcity situation in Venezuela.”

    – Theirs[0] (2001.com.ve):

    “Día Día no ha incurrido en acaparamiento. Día Día no ha incurrido en boicot.”

    One of two is an editorial.Which and for what purpose?

    It’s not a mere change of wording. Would the company agree to be attributed an explanation to the “government’s […] solution to the serious food scarcity situation in Venezuela”?

    Why would they send different versions to different outlets?

    They would be responsible for their words regardless.

    Strange that businessmen would comment on the subject.

    [0] http://www.2001.com.ve/en-la-agenda/89950/-por-que-se-persigue-a-quien-lo-hace-bien—se-preguntan-en-dia-dia-.html

    • dspur
      What are your thoughts content of the memo? Do you think the regime was right to target Dia Dia? Do you believe they were hoarding? Do you believe the economic crisis in Venezuela is the result of an ‘economic war”?

      • Rory,

        The point of my comment was to highlight different versions of the same company statement.

        It is unusual that a company would take the opportunity to politicize the issue.

  8. If what the Dia a Dia communique states is correct and what Farmatodo states is correct then the govt is arbitrarily looking for a scape goat whom to blame for the scarcities and discomforts that everyone is facing to shift the growing popular anger towards others that themselves .

    For the Regime bosses the blame must be placed on othes so as to scape being blamed themselves . both Farmatodo and Dia a Dia report being recently subjected to 60 separate visits from govt inspetors desperately seeking something to use as a pretext to claim that some kind of hoarding and profiteering was going on. This is very revealing of the govts distracting tactics .

    Because many people apparently dont know that the govt minutely controls all distribution movements and ignore how precisely a companys inventories operate they are banking on that ignorance to create a melo dramatic story line with the message: you are the victim of a malicious sabotage and we bravely and fiercely are acting to put a stop to it We are the all powerful all good avengers who will protect you from the abuses of your suppliers . Look how just and mighty Maduro is in the valiant defense of your interest.!!

    They dont really have anything against Farmatodo or Dia a Dia .just that they are highly visible to the public and are useful to pin the blame for their own failures . Nothing personal just business as usual for the kind of politics which the regime practices .

    The truth of the matter ( and I have this straight from someone who works for a big food product proessing and distribution company which the govt usually supports) is that the whole distribution chains are breaking up , specialy in the interior of Venezuela , simply because there are not enough product to distribute , in part because the govt is each day tightening the access to imported food stuffs and products , limiting the volumen of what can be imported so shortages are spreading . Hi has just spent time visiting the interior and talking direct to people in the distribution chain and quite simply supplies are drying up at a faster rate that envisaged by people in the business so that situations of extreme and prolongued shortages are coming earlier that expected. Milk for instnce will almost totally dissapear from the stores and wont be coming back until a period of some 10 months if at all. His advise to close family members is stock up as much as they can and ration what they consume because things are gotting to get lots worse much quicker than people think.

    AS they say here …lo que viene es joropo!!

  9. I liked their communique in that it clearly paints Día Día as the aggrieved party and shows the government to be inept bullies. However, isn’t anyone going to attack the very idea that any government should have the right to interfere in the operation of a private business to this extreme degree?

    As for why attack Día Día? I would guess that it was because they were competing against Mercal, and doing a much better job of it, making the Chavistas look bad.

  10. All of Día Día ‘s inventory is likely going to a military base for quick distribution to the military. It will never be seen in a store in a poor neighborhood. The military will consume it or sell it.

  11. Dpia a Día can say what they like – the authorities did not believe them.

    The part about Harina Pan is clearly a lie in the text. When the raid took place there in 01-02-2015 there were stocks of harina pan that had been packaged in August last year – the date on the bultos were shown by the TV camera.

    In any case this occupation is not permanent as the fair Price Law only allows for a meximum 6 month occupation / supervision.

    Another manager of Día a Día was arrested yesterday trying to escape on a flight from Barcel9ona to Panama. His na,e is Tadeo something-or-pther. Now, if Día a Día was doiung nothing “wrong” – why was he tryng to flee instead of defending the comapny against the measures being taken against it?

  12. Dia Dia, and perhaps Farmatodo in the future, are goners, since the Govt. needs scapegoat highly-visible private commercial enterprises to: 1)Blame for the scarcity/long lines of the “Guerra Economica”; and 2)Take over (without compensation) and re-name with PDVAL/etc. to increase their propaganda presence. Sadly, as with Agro-Islena, re-named “Agro-Patria”, Govt. mis-management/incompetence/corruption invariably ends up gutting these once-profitable/useful enterprises. Polar has been/probably will be spared since they are absolutely necessary to providing key Pueblo consumer products (corn flour/margarine/etc.).

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