Caracas, Venezuela • Venezuelans could soon have to scan their fingerprints to buy bread.
President Nicolas Maduro says a mandatory fingerprinting system is being implemented at grocery stores to combat food shortages by keeping people from buying too much of a single item. He calls it an "anti-fraud system" like the fingerprint scan the country uses for voting.
In announcing the plan late Wednesday, Maduro did not say when the system would take effect, but other administration officials suggested it could be in place by December or January.
The move was met with skepticism. Critics said the new system is tantamount to rationing and constitutes a breach of privacy. Others simply wondered if anything short of a systemic overhaul of the economy could help the socialist South American country's chronically bare shelves.