Venezuela’s military has taken control of five ports in an effort to guarantee supplies of food and medicine.
In a decree, President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the army to monitor food processing plants, and co-ordinate the production and distribution of items.
Venezuela is going through a deep economic crisis despite having the world’s largest oil reserves.
Basic products are increasingly hard to find and many say they struggle to feed their families.
The Venezuelan Bishops Conference said the rise of the military is a “threat to tranquillity and peace”.
Mr Maduro says the measure is to fight the “economic war” he claims is being waged against his government by political foes and businessmen, with US backing.