In the last day of the European tour, National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges met on Thursday with British prime minister Theresa May and the State minister for Europe, Alan Duncan, who expressed that “The United Kingdom is 100% with democratic institutions in Venezuela.
Foreign minister Arreaza tweeted that Theresa May sided with those who threaten dialogue and peace, restating that validating the arguments of opposition lawmakers only diminishes the British government’s credibility.
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) September 7, 2017
4/4 PM @theresa_may prejudices her gov't credibility by validating the lies of those who attempt against Venezuelan democracy
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) September 7, 2017
8 days of work
Nicolás presented eight laws in five hours to face the non-existent economic war, as if this crisis was caused by legislative missteps instead of executive mistakes.
The impact of Julio Borges’ European tour was much bigger than expected, to the point that Nicolás made it his most repeated message throughout the night.
He claimed that governors who are elected “must subordinate themselves to the ANC or must otherwise be removed from office,” a detail to stimulate abstention.
He increased minimum wages by 40% and food stamps by four tax units, so the new integral wage is Bs. 325,544, or $16. Pensions are now Bs. 177,507. He also announced a Bs. 250,000 bonus for the start of school year, but that’s not even good for a pair of shoes.
Destroying what’s broken
Nicolás presented laws and measures similar to the ones he used in previous years, but without correcting the distortions, doubling down on policies that caused our deepest recession yet and the highest inflation in the world. The laws are:
- The plan 50: aimed at fixing max prices for 50 essential services and products in the country.
- Law of the CLAP, to give them more leeway as punitive inspectors.
- Law for the regulation of exchange houses, at DICOM rate.
- Law of promotion and protection of foreign investment.
- Law of the tax regime for sovereign development of the Mining Arc.
- Law to inspect large fortunes originating in the economic war.
- Law to sanction financial crimes, in which he proposes the creation of a criminal tax unit to face these crimes.
- Law to create the Southern Agro-food Consortium. Remember Agropatria?
Nicolás announced a payment system based on a coin basket to get rid “of the dollar’s oppression,” so he’ll start using yuanes, rubles and rupees, despite all the transactional issues they bring.
He reported the start of a round of negotiations with bondholders, claiming that 74% of those affected are based in the U.S. and Canada.
He ordered the establishment of an electronic billing system with the 5,000 large taxpayers in less that 30 days, so that they can transfer their data to SENIAT and thus fight off tax evasion. Lastly, he announced a trio of incentives for the use of electronic payment: up to 5 points less VAT; tax credits on the Income Tax 2017 and the use of this method to pay for public services.
Lawmaker Rafael Guzmán, member of the Finance Committee, reported that monthly inflation for August reached 33.7%, a historic record since it’s “the highest rate ever recorded in Venezuela, for a cumulative inflation of 366.1% so far this year.”
Back in 2012, inflation was 31.2% – August surpassed the entire inflation for 2012 – and the current cumulative inflation already surpassed that of 2016. Guzmán cautioned that we’ll close the year with an inflation rate of over 1,000%.
This information is revealed the same day that the black market dollar hit the Bs. 20,192.95 mark, surpassing the value of the highest denomination banknote in our country; the dollar has increased by nearly Bs. 10,000 in a month.
Aristóbulo Istúriz said yesterday: “We set the elections for October, for October 15th,” assuming the National Electoral Council’s obligation, as they’re still to announce an electoral timetable, even though they did announce the dates for the 12 audits to be performed during the process, according to tweets by journalist Eugenio Martínez.
They also reported that the company Ex Clé S.A. will replace Smartmatic, keeping the same voting system.
TSJ chief Maikel Moreno reported that their judicial proceedings have yielded results in the fight against corruption, emphasizing the joint actions of the Executive Branch and the Prosecutor’s Office and labelling the subordination of all public powers to the PSUV as an alliance.
Moreno wrote: “We’re going to prosecutor people and groups engaged in organized crime, so harmful to our public assets,” adding that by Nicolás’ order, they’ll take swift action in these cases.
The imposed prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, reported that the Prosecutor’s Office reopened the investigations “on alleged acts of corruption” in connection to Odebrecht.
Saab said that a week ago, he received complaints of corruption within the mixed company PetroZamora. Since then, and in coordination with Nicolás, the TSJ and security bodies, they found illegal activity and arrested eight PDVSA managers, for the crimes of illicit trafficking of strategic material, criminal association, obstructing free trade, embezzlement and damages against the oil industry.
He also announced an investigation on embezzlement in the Orinoco Oil Strip project and the acquisition of two single buoy moorings, claiming that this “is an embezzlement of thousands of millions of dollars” in overbilling.
Nicolás only announced more controls and, with them, more inflation, shortages and black markets. He said nothing about DIPRO, the exchange rate that favors his people. The terrible part is that the effects of these disastrous policies are more hunger, malnutrition, diseases, deaths and, of course, an increased exodus.
Nicolás donated 10 tonnes of food and humanitarian aid supplies for the victims of hurricane Irma in Antigua and Barbuda.
Sadly, Aragua state doesn’t vote at the OAS, otherwise its luck would be different.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.