The hyperinflationary-hell in Venezuela’s currency is deepening as a crippling dollar shortage and a threat of oil sanctions (amid President Maduro's attempts to rewrite the constition to maintain his grip on power) take their toll on the economy.
Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors urged President Nicolas Maduro to refrain from actions that might exacerbate the country’s political crisis in a disappointment to some regional governments that favored more direct and forceful criticism. As Bloomberg reports, Mercosur, South America’s largest trade bloc, called on “the government and the opposition not to carry out any initiative that could divide further Venezuelan society or aggravate institutional conflicts,” in a joint statement issued at the end of a summit in Mendoza, Argentina. Member countries Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay were joined by Chile, Colombia, Guyana and Mexico in signing the statement.
International condemnation of the Maduro government’s plan to rewrite the country’s constitution to maintain its hold on power is gathering pace after the U.S. said it would impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials if Maduro goes ahead.
As we noted earlier in the week, The Trump administration is mulling over sanctions against senior Venezuelan government officials, and additional measures could include sanctions against the country’s oil industry, such as halting imports into the U.S., according to senior Washington officials who spoke to media.
The goal of the sanctions is to prevent the Nicolas Maduro government from having things its way at a July 30 election for a Constituent Assembly that, the U.S. administration believes, would serve to cement Maduro’s power and turn Venezuela into a “full dictatorship.”
The Constitutional Assembly vote was proposed by the government as a means of tackling the political crisis that Venezuela slid into last year, after the election of a new parliament where the opposition had a majority that put it at odds with the government. A Constituent Assembly can rewrite the country’s constitution, and many observers see the move as an attempt to strengthen the current regime’s hold on power.
After months of often violent protests, the opposition has now called a 24-hour national strike after conducting an unofficial referendum that, Al Jazeera reports, suggested overwhelming opposition to the idea of voting for a Constituent Assembly and equally overwhelming support for transparent parliamentary elections.
And as protests escalate and international pressure builds, the black market price for dollars in Bolivars has gone vertical. In fact, Venezuelans are now paying 1000 times more for a US dollar than they were in 2010...
Visualized a little differently, as Bloomberg notes, the black-market rate for the bolivar traded weaker than 8,700 per dollar for the first time, according to dolartoday.com on Friday, compared with the official rate of around 10 and a more widely used alternative rate of 2,757.
In fact, the last 3 months have seen the currency collapse by 30% as the hyperinflationary endgame of socialist utopias once again ends in bloodshed and a nation torn apart...
As AP reports, thousands are gathering in the Venezuelan capital for a march toward the embattled nation's Supreme Court in an escalating push to stop President Nicolas Maduro from proceeding with his plans to rewrite the constitution.
The opposition is calling on frustrated Venezuelans to take to the streets to support a slate of Supreme Court judges appointed by the National Assembly on Friday but quickly rejected by the government-stacked court.
Organizers hope Saturday's protest in Caracas will be one of the largest before a scheduled July 30 election for a special assembly to rewrite Venezuela's charter. Maduro is facing mounting international pressure to cancel the controversial vote.
Nearly four months of anti-government protests have left at least 97 people dead, and thousands more have been injured or detained.
National guard troops in Venezuela's capital have launched tear gas at protesters, clouds of white gas and rows of officers on motorcycles are blocking the demonstrators in Caracas.
The violent protests ate instigated from both sides (pro- and anti-Maduro), alleged supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stormed the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas earlier this month, injuring several journalists and law makers in the process.
In a move aimed at proving a vision of a possible post-Maduro government, Bloomberg reports that Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly swore in 33 Supreme Court judges in a largely symbolic move as it protests President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.
The existing Supreme Court, appointed by a previous assembly that supported the ruling socialist regime, has been the focus of protests over the past four months. It has sought to limit lawmakers’ power, and pre-emptively ruled today’s Congress session null. The standoff between the rival groups of jurists is likely to increase institutional instability in the country.
“The National Assembly has taken this important measure to signal the future of the country and to have a court that serves the people and not a political party,” Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, told opposition deputies and spectators assembled in eastern Caracas.
“There won’t be true democracy until we have a strong court. A court without political colors, and where all Venezuelans are equal before the law”
About 7.5 million opposition supporters rejected Maduro’s plan in an unofficial referendum Sunday, and 24-hour strike paralyzed the country Thursday. The opposition is building on momentum as the July 30 vote to name members of a constitutional assembly vote approaches.