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Montevideo, November 22nd 2017 - 09:26 UTC

In “God will provide” speech Maduro admits economic failure and calls for unity

Friday, January 23rd 2015 - 05:43 UTC
Full article 21 comments
Maduro announced a new, third dollar exchange system using private brokers to counter the black market, where the currency trades at some 177 Bolivares Maduro announced a new, third dollar exchange system using private brokers to counter the black market, where the currency trades at some 177 Bolivares
An impending hike in gas prices was also in the agenda, Venezuela currently enjoys some of the cheapest gas in the world at roughly 2 cents a liter An impending hike in gas prices was also in the agenda, Venezuela currently enjoys some of the cheapest gas in the world at roughly 2 cents a liter
Opposition leader Capriles called on Venezuelans to unite to get out of this crisis“,  mocking Maduro as a ”pirate“ and ”liar” Opposition leader Capriles called on Venezuelans to unite to get out of this crisis“, mocking Maduro as a ”pirate“ and ”liar”

In a three-hour State of the Nation speech to the National Assembly on Wednesday night, president Nicolás Maduro acknowledged some of the economic realities facing Venezuela: the economy contracted by 2.8% in 2014 and inflation stood at 64%.

 “In the battle against our difficulties with low oil prices, the battle to optimize investment for socioeconomic growth, I call on all of Venezuela to unite for prosperity for all,” he said.

Maduro returned last week from a ten-day international tour aimed at shoring up financial assistance for the faltering economy and persuading members of oil-producing countries to strategize against falling oil prices. While he announced some investment deals with China and Qatar, he proved unsuccessful in changing the trajectory of the price of oil. “God will provide” on that front, he said during Wednesday night’s address.

Some observers had been expecting him to announce a currency devaluation to cope with the country’s dwindling foreign reserves and runaway inflation. Maduro instead announced an adjustment to the existing three-tiered currency exchange system: The main exchange rate of 6.3 Bolivares to the dollar would remain in place for food and medicine, while the other two tiers, which trade at 12 and 50 Bolivares to the dollar, respectively, would be fused into one.

The government would also establish a new, third exchange system using private brokers to counter the black market, where the currency trades at some 177 Bolivares to the dollar, but Maduro offered few additional details on that system. Some analysts interpreted the announcement as a potential “stealth devaluation” that would indirectly weaken Venezuela’s currency.

Maduro also announced an impending hike in gas prices, a sensitive topic for a country that currently enjoys some of the cheapest gas in the world at roughly 2 cents a liter (about 8 cents a gallon). Meanwhile, he said, salaries and pensions would rise by 15% and the government would build 400,000 new houses for Venezuela’s poor.

Maduro’s popularity is at an all-time low as Venezuelans have felt increasing pain from shortages in recent weeks. Members of the political opposition have called for mass protests this weekend as a show of anger that could potentially balloon to the scale of last year's chaotic demonstrations, which roiled the country for months. Wednesday’s speech seemed to do little to quell frustration for skeptics of the Socialist government.

“There was nothing redeemable about Maduro's speech tonight,“ wrote Juan Nagel, editor of Caracas Chronicles, a well-known blog critical of Venezuela’s government, following the address.

“He did not announce any important measures, he evaded responsibility, he avoided citing numbers or figures, he assigned chores to his lackeys without giving away details and he did not project leadership or confidence, both of which are the pretty much the excuse for a [p]resident to have a State of the Union speech in the first place.”

But without price specifics on either, or any major structural changes to the socialist model, Maduro's critics said he had not done enough to rescue a shrinking economy and combat shortages plaguing Venezuela's 30 million people.

”Today more than ever, we have to unite all Venezuelans to get out of this crisis,“ opposition leader Henrique Capriles said, mocking Maduro as a ”pirate“ and ”liar“ and urging people to rally on the streets against him in coming days.

Venezuela's lively Twitter scene was abuzz with debate, and some ridicule, over Maduro's most headline-grabbing phrases, including his reassurance that ”God will provide” in the face of oil revenues that have plunged by more than half.

Top Comments

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  • LEPRecon

    Sure 'God' will provide.

    Just like he provides relief to those dying from starvation...

    Just like he cures those suffering and dying from diseases...

    And I'm sure that 'God' is going to drop everything and run to help a man who has committed terrible crimes, including blasphemy - when he and his followers compared that, now hopefully rotting in hell, Chavez to God.

    Well then Maduro why don't you pray to your false God Chavez for help?

    Jan 23rd, 2015 - 06:26 am 0
  • ilsen

    A lesson writ large to all the ALBA countries who believed in the False Prophet of Chavez.
    Now his acolytes are invoking yet another Diety to save them from this inherited quagmire.
    I truly despair for what they have done to this beautiful country.
    More oil than Saudi Arabia, (but can't extract and have to pay the USA to process it), 36 million hectares of arable land, (but only 3 mm in 'production'), the touristic opportuntites of La Gran Sabana, Los Andes and The Caribbean beaches, but 25,000 violent deaths per annum and a bullshit currency......

    “God will provide”

    Is this all he has left to say?

    Jan 23rd, 2015 - 06:41 am 0
  • LEPRecon

    @2 ilsen

    Exactly.

    “God will provide” is like the last gasp of a drowning man “God will save me”.

    His desperation is getting so bad now it's like a bad smell permeating through Venezuela.

    The annoying thing is though that he'll cling on to power for as long as he can, and ensure that he destroys Venezuela. But the results of that will leave a lot of people dead, and a lot more in poverty for generations to come.

    Let this be a wake up call for all those who believe in the lies of the socialists.

    And perhaps this mantra should be taught to every school child from day one in school: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Another saying to hold to their hearts should be: Give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish he'll eat for a lifetime.

    Of course socialists don't want people to learn how to depend on themselves, thus knowing how to 'fish'. The socialists want people to depend on government hand outs, so giving them a fish.

    This always works out well until the fish run out. Then the people starve, and they have either lost the ability to look after themselves, or they never learnt how to rely on themselves.

    As the blessed Maggie famously said: The main problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

    No doubt Maduro has now run out of Venezuela's money, but I'll bet his off-shore bank accounts are groaning under the weight of all the dollars he has stolen.

    Jan 23rd, 2015 - 07:01 am 0
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