Friday, January 8th 2016 - 11:46 UTC

Venezuela's problems are because it's “too capitalist” says new Economy czar

President Nicolas Maduro is doubling down on his existing economic policies with the appointment of a young leftist hardliner to head the country's dilapidated economy, setting the stage for confrontation between the ruling socialist party and the newly powerful opposition.

Luis Salas, 39, has scant administrative experience, but champions the same theories of price and currency controls that have defined Venezuela's economy

 Luis Salas, the new 39-year-old vice president for the economy, has scant administrative experience, but champions the same theories of price and currency controls that have defined Venezuela's leftist economic policy for 17 years.

Like Maduro, Salas says the country is suffering from the world's worst recession and triple-digit inflation because business interests are colluding with the U.S. to sabotage the economy.

He even goes further than Maduro in arguing that many of the country's problems are the result of being too capitalist.

A professor at the Bolivarian University, an institution created by the late president Hugo Chavez, Salas was relatively unknown before this week. Now, the country is poring over his large body of pamphlets and letters.

“Inflation doesn't exist in real life,” he wrote last year.

He added that prices go up not because of scarcity, but because of “capitalist economies that are driven by the desire for personal gain through the exploitation of others; by selfishness.”

Along with shortages, inflation has become the No. 1 concern among Venezuelan voters, many of whom spend hours each week waiting in line for goods that are increasingly impossible to afford.

After the opposition swept Dec. 6 legislative elections, Salas wrote an open letter in which he attacked as “pragmatists” those people within the socialist camp who were floating the possibility of a currency devaluation, a move that outside economists agree is a necessary first step for righting the economy.

Disbelief at the president's choice for a new economic czar echoed in opposition circles with some speculating Maduro might be trying to drive the economy into the ground.

Since its landmark victory, the opposition coalition has been split between those who favor negotiation with the government and those who want to start to remove Maduro from office. The new appointment and the socialists' combative stance since the new congress was seated Tuesday could silence opposition voices favoring dialogue.

Maduro named other hardliners to top spots Wednesday as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle he says is intended to protect the revolution during a new political era. And he created a new urban agriculture ministry and announced that he and first lady Cilia Flores had taken up urban farming themselves.

“Cilia and I keep 50 chickens at our home. It's time to start building a new culture of production,” he said.

7 comments Feed

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1 yankeeboy (#) Jan 08th, 2016 - 12:24 pm Report abuse
That guy looks like a typical socialist slumdweller.

There's talk of FAMINE this year in Venezuela.

Yeah, double down.

Starve out the Socialist that will solve a lot of the problems.

Maybe that's been the plan all along

Statism/Socialism always leads to Famine.
2 zathras (#) Jan 08th, 2016 - 12:35 pm Report abuse
What a stupid twit.

While Oils was really valuable any sensible countries put a % of the money generated by production aside for a “rainy day”.

Blame everyone else for their economic woes.

Not easy to keep animals if you live in a block of flats.

They really are just clueless.
3 Klingon (#) Jan 08th, 2016 - 12:58 pm Report abuse
Maduro finally found someone dumber than himself and agree's with everything he says.
Maybe it's for the best so VZ will crash and burn, then they can rebuild from scratch.
4 Bisley (#) Jan 09th, 2016 - 04:06 am Report abuse
These corrupt, socialist morons have destroyed a prosperous economy with their nationalization, control and thievery. Venezuela will not recover until the Chavistas are driven out of government, and people are free to manage their lives, businesses and property as they see fit. No government can manage anything as well as the individuals involved (even if they were trying to promote the general welfare, rather than increase their power and enrich themselves).
5 Mendoza Canadian (#) Jan 09th, 2016 - 11:43 am Report abuse
Obviously a friend of Elvis Kissoff from Argentina...
6 Jack Bauer (#) Jan 09th, 2016 - 05:37 pm Report abuse
Wouldn't trust him with cleaning public latrines.....looks like he'd try to steal the contents. Definitely he and MADurine have a lot in common.
7 SaguaroJack49 (#) Jan 10th, 2016 - 09:23 pm Report abuse
Like all socialists, this rube has but a superficial grasp of economics. He thinks he's so smart he can grab on the fly all the information he needs, which means he ignores whatever doesn't agree with his ideology. Hence, as all other of his ilk, he can keep coming up with silly “ideas” that have no chance in the real world.

Meanwhile, people suffer because of his Olympian arrogance & obamaian ignorance.

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