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Montevideo, December 3rd 2016 - 15:35 UTC

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

Friday, January 8th 2016 - 11:46 UTC
Full article 7 comments
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, 39, has scant administrative experience, but champions the same theories of price and currency controls that have defined Venezuela's economy

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, 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.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Venezuela.

Top Comments

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  • yankeeboy

    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.
    Always.

    Jan 08th, 2016 - 12:24 pm 0
  • zathras

    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.

    Jan 08th, 2016 - 12:35 pm 0
  • Klingon

    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.

    Jan 08th, 2016 - 12:58 pm 0
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