Venezuela chocolate trade not so sweet

Government’s freeze on exports frustrates farmers

Posted: May 3, 2015 at 2:22 a.m.

In this April 16, 2015 photo, workers bag dry cacao beans at the Agropampatar chocolate farm Co-op in El Clavo, Venezuela. For centuries, Venezuela was among the world’s biggest cacao producers, though the industry stagnated decades ago as oil came to dominate the economy. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

EL CLAVO, Venezuela -- William Machado worked all winter harvesting palm-sized yellow cacao pods and drying the flavorful beans inside. He's part of a chocolate trade that is one of this South American country's most prized industries, but Machado increasingly fears his hard work may be in vain, squandered by a freeze on exports.

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