Venezuelans on Tuesday woke up to discover that the government-controlled price of corn flour — used to make corn patty arepas, a staple of local cuisine — has risen 900 percent.

The socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro had kept the price of corn flour frozen for 15 months at 19 bolivares a kilogram (two pounds).

But late Monday the government’s Superintendent of Fair Prices increased the price to 190 bolivares a kilo, or $19 at the government rate used for imports such as medicine and scarce food.

Flour is one of the most scarce food basics, and the Venezuelan Association of Corn Flour Industrialists has been asking for a price increase, arguing that the low government-set price does not cover the cost of production.

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