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- Written by Administrator
Published on 24 January by www.venezuelanalysis.com
On Friday, thousands took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the toppling of the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship as well as to voice their support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro in the face of economic war and political destabilization.
Setting out in the morning from Plaza Fabricio Ojeda in the historic 23 de Enero neighborhood, a combative barrio itself named after the date of Pérez Jiménez’s ousting, the march concluded in the Plaza O’Leary in El Calvario, where the President spoke and led a spirited rally, amidst a sea of red banners.
Shortages and the “Economic War”
Friday’s march comes in the midst of severe inflation and widespread shortages of basic goods, which President Maduro has termed an “economic war” that is reportedly being waged against the Bolivarian government by elements of the opposition. The President accused distributors of hoarding everyday products and presented them with an ultimatum to cooperate or face “tough measures.”
- Written by Administrator
Published on 24 December 2014 by Steve Ellner - New Left Project
Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the ‘revolutionary process’ initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse. The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen. High on the list of difficulties are the chronic shortages of numerous consumer goods and products, including basic ones, as well as an annual inflation rate of over 60 percent. Both of these, Maduro claims, are part of an ‘economic war’ being waged by powerful interests to destabilize Venezuela. The government’s difficulties include the universally recognized problem of corruption.
Of course, these scourges were also prevalent under Chávez, but with less intensity, and in any case he faced them head on. His response to the shortages of basic commodities – which became particularly severe in 2007, influencing the outcome of the referendum on proposed constitutional reform – was to decree widespread expropriations. In 2009 he faced the problem of corruption that led to a major financial crisis by jailing at least 16 bankers, including the brother of a trusted cabinet minister, and ordering the arrest of over 40 others who fled the country, while at the same time nationalizing 13 banks.
Radical Chavistas point out that Maduro is lacking in audacity of this type. They criticize, for instance, the decision to replace the Chavista slogan ‘Chávez Lives, the Struggle Continues!’ with ‘Chávez Lives, the Homeland Continues!’ as indicative of political retreat and a lessening of the leadership’s revolutionary fervour. One Chavista radical concluded that, given this type of rhetorical modification, ‘Chávez is facing a second death.’  The radicals also questioned the rationale behind the proposed ‘peace dialogue’ with opposition leaders and the business sector, designed to control the violent protests that shook Venezuela in early 2014. They were convinced that underlying these conversations were concessions to the historical enemies of the Bolivarian revolution. Antonio Aponte and Toby Valderrama, an ex-guerrilla of the 1960s whom Maduro has attacked personally, wrote ‘It’s time for self-criticism: we wanted to avoid sacrifices and so we extended our hand to the bourgeoisie, the enemies of peace… we wanted to control the capitalist monster that is uncontrollable.’ 
These critiques raise the question of how to evaluate a government committed to taking the gradual democratic road to far-reaching change in the context of extreme polarization and conflict. Is a period of lull in the deepening of change, including compromises with adversaries, necessarily a sign that all has been lost, as those who invoke the term ‘permanent revolution’ often argue? Certainly, history is replete with examples of governments committed to structural transformation that, after initial advances, begin to backslide and end up completely abandoning the struggle. On the other hand, Lenin’s slogan of ‘one step backwards to take two steps forward’ (in reference to the New Economic Policy) may be applicable to Venezuela under Maduro, as some Chavista moderates suggest. Finally, what are the issues we should be looking at in evaluating the Maduro government’s claim to have inherited Chávez’s revolutionary mantle? And what are the issues that are not particularly germane to this discussion but that some on the left are raising in a misguided attempt to define the ideological orientation of the Maduro government?
- Written by Administrator
Published on 31 December 2014 by venezuelanalysis.com
The Venezuelan government has published previously withheld data revealing that the economy entered a recession in the second quarter of this year. However President Nicolas Maduro said significant changes to Venezuela’s economic model were being planned and that an economic “recovery plan” would be implemented in early 2015.
State of the economy
A report released by the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) on 30 December showed that the economy contracted this year by -4.8% in the first quarter, -4.9% in Q2, and -2.3% in Q3.
The slowdown occurred in the context of a series of economic problems facing the South American OPEC nation, which include an increasingly overvalued fixed-rate currency, shortages of many basic products including some food and medicines, and Bolivarian-era record annual inflation of 63.6% as of November.
These problems have been compounded by a fall in the oil price from US $99 per barrel in June to $48 yesterday, effectively reducing the government’s foreign export revenue by 50%. Oil sales account for almost all of the country’s foreign earnings.
The inflation statistics were published after a three month absence. According to newspaper El Universal’s report on the data, inflation in food prices is far higher than overall inflation, at 92.8% annually.
The BCV also reported that despite these negative trends, Venezuela registered a trade surplus in the first three quarters of 2014 of $6.811 billion, reflecting a positive balance of payments. International reserves are $20,890 billion.
- Written by Other Sources
Published on 19 December 2014 collated from www.venezuelanalysis.com
In the same week as re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, U.S. president Barack Obama has just signed in legislation to impose sanctions on Venezuelan government officials. After the United States congress approved sanctions on Venezuela last week, President Barack Obama signed them on Thursday, thereby punishing Venezuelan government officials.
The U.S claims the sanctions are in retaliation for the so called repressive or violent role of government officials earlier this year. Some opposition supporters participated in blockades, burning of over a hundred public buses, stations, and buildings, sharp shooter targeting of Chavista marchers, and physical and verbal attacks on people trying to get to school or hospitals in February, March, and April this year. Forty-three people were killed, the majority being civilians and members of the pro-government national guard.
Pro-revolution Venezuelans responded to the sanctions in mass demonstrations on Monday, flooding the streets and social media platforms with ant-imperialist messages.
- Written by Administrator
Published on 9 December 2014 by TeleSUR English
Venezuela has approved the creation of a new national council for people with disabilities in an attempt to eliminate the stigma around such communities, announced President Nicolas Maduro in a national address late Monday.
The Presidential Council for People with Disabilities was created to strengthen the participation of disabled persons in state and societal affairs, as well as increase awareness and eliminate discrimination towards disabled individuals across the country.
In the past months, Venezuela has tried to address the needs of the country's large disabled community.
- Written by Administrator
Published on 3 November by www.venezuelanalysis.com
In an announcement made on 28 November , Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro pledged to slash spending in certain areas, such as senior government officials’ salaries, while swearing “we will never cut one bolivar of what we spend on education, food, housing... on our people.”
On 2 December the South American leader authorized a 20% cut in what he denominated “discretionary and luxury spending” in order to “maximize resources” in the face of the tumbling price of oil, which has already seen a 30% decrease in Venezuela’s hard cash income.
To determine what expenses are superfluous, Maduro has assembled a committee for efficient spending.
The president urged Venezuelans to see the measure as a tool for “deepening our strategic methods of savings and the optimization of resources… we must take advantage of this crisis.”
Maduro also mentioned plans to modify the Sicad II currency exchange system, in the hopes to create a “true, new alternative” for citizens to access dollars at a preferential rate by minimizing the amount of paperwork required to participate.
“We’re going to be delivering a blow to the parallel dollar,” Maduro warned.
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