Right-wing Venezuelan opposition supporters attacked workers at La Minka bakery in Caracas Tuesday, shoving them while shouting racial slurs, independent media outlet Efecto Cocuyo reported.
“I'm not a racist, but those Blacks with their bare feet and dirty hands, I'm not eating it (the bread),” one opposition protester said, according to Venezuela Analysis.
The assailants, who have suspected ties to opposition parties First Justice and Popular Will, were protesting the bakery’s new owners. La Minka, formerly named Mansion Bakery, is now run by a predominantly-Black workers’ collective supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution.
The workers, with help from the socialist government, took over the bakery last week after its previous owners were sanctioned for breaking food production laws. They not only violated health codes — they also intentionally hoarded products and raised prices by more than 400 percent for personal gain.
Now, La Minka is serving low-cost, government-subsidized products that are accessible to Caracas’ working class community. For Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, however, La Minka’s new products are not good enough for them.
“I always bought bread here early. It was tasty. Now they tell me that I can not buy them like that here anymore. I must look for it somewhere else,” a local opposition protester who did not give her name told Efecto Cocuyo after the scuffle.
Despite the attack, La Minka workers are continuing to serve their community. The grassroots-run bakery is producing more than 5,600 baguettes daily, distributing low-cost bread to about 11 food collectives in the area.
“We're not taking anything from anybody, we're just doing justice,” Caracas government official Carolina Cestari, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday.
The bakery is named after La Minka collective, a grassroots community organization that works alongside the Bolivarian Revolution to provide resources for Venezuela’s underserved communities. “Minka” is a Quechua term that represents “communal work for the greater good.”
Bread is a basic consumer good according to the Venezuelan government. In accordance with the country’s laws, bread must be sold at government-stipulated fair prices intended to guarantee consumer access for the majority of people.
Last week, the Venezuelan government took over two bakeries for failing to comply with these price controls.