Venezuela forced to extend emergency decree

May 18 2016

The Venezuelan government released a gazette on Monday to implement a fresh extension of its State of Economic Emergency Decree, which was announced by President Nicolas Maduro on Friday, with new authorizations to tackle alleged domestic and foreign attempts to overthrow the government.

To defend territorial sovereignty

A new presidential decree published in the gazette contained 12 articles aimed at protecting the population’s socio-economic rights and outlining actions to defend territorial sovereignty.

The new legal instrument, to last for 60 renewable days, extends the emergency decree which was signed on Jan. 14 and renewed on March 14 for another 60 days.

The new decree gives the Venezuelan government new security powers to act against possible “destabilizing actions that intend to interrupt the country’s internal life” or its international relations.

Maduro described the new instrument as including measures to defend the country against new “foreign threats.”

Applying special measures to impede foreign interference

The president was referring to statements made by Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe Velez who called from Miami, the United States, to “institutionally challenge” Venezuela’s army, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.

The new decree authorizes Venezuela’s government to apply “special measures in foreign policy that impedes foreign interference.”

The decree also allows the government to take action to rectify the shortages of goods and services in the country.

Measures that solicit international aid

The decree also includes measures that solicit international aid to help restore ecosystems affected by serious droughts or the “El Nino” weather phenomenon as well as the country’s electricity service, which has been affected by low water levels.

The army, police and local committees are all authorized to help with the distribution of goods, medicines, foods and other urgent necessities.

The new decree will be submitted to the opposition-dominated National Assembly for approval within eight days.

Plunging oil prices

Venezuela announced a 60-day state of economic emergency early this year amid plunging oil prices, soaring inflation and a severe shortage of goods, and the measure was extended for 60 more days in March as the economic crisis facing the country showed no sign of improvement.

Venezuela’s national economy, heavily depends on oil revenues, shrank 7 percent in 2015 as a result of plunging oil prices, and the annual inflation rate was at around 140 percent.


One thought on “Venezuela forced to extend emergency decree

  1. The unfolding crisis in Venezuela poses multiple challenges to the people particularly the majority of working and poor people,the Maduro government and the revolution itself.

    This crisis has several dimensions which include the socio-economic, security and political dimensions. Each of these dimensions requires urgent attention during and after the state of emergency to ensure that the welfare of the people and their revolution are safeguarded against the interests of the oligarchy, the US empire and their political servants.

    Further, each of these dimensions is being made worst by the ongoing actions of the local oligarchy, the US empire and their political servants who are engaged in a myriad of hostile and aggressive actions of sabotage, destabilization of the security and peace of the broader society particularly the economy.

    The actions of these political enemies of the revolution are designed to accomplish two intertwined objectives, namely, regime change and the ending the Bolivarian revolution and its achievements for the Venezuelan people.

    Consequently, the Maduro government had no choice but to renew the state of emergency so as to achieve two interrelated objectives.

    The first objective is to stabilize and improve the deteriorating socio-economic conditions confronting the majority of the population particularly as it relates to the shortages of basic consumer goods such as rice, flour, cooking oil, soaps, toilet tissue, medicines and others. The latter shortages have been largely created by the local merchants and the rest of the oligarchy as a part of their overall destabilization of the economy to punish the people for their popular support of the revolution.

    The oligarchy and the merchant class in particular have waged an aggressive campaign for years to hide consumer goods in trenches such as those earlier mentioned and others to make life very difficult for ordinary folks and as such to tarnish the credibility of the revolution in their minds.

    Further the significant growth of inflation in the economy at 140 percent in 2015 alone is unsustainable as it not only does not encourage investment and savings in the economy but it also destroys the purchasing power of working people since it decimates the value of the peso.

    The decline of the value of the peso as a consequence of hyperinflation in the Venezuelan economy may be comparatively good for exporters but not for importers as the relative prices of tradable goods and services are adjusted in favor of exports in foreign markets but against imports in Venezuela.

    The latter relative price changes for the country’s exports and imports could potentially lead to a worsening current account deficit for Venezuela. However, the latter will depend on the responsiveness of foreign consumers to price changes in Venezuela’s exports including its oil exports as well as the responsiveness of Venezuela’s consumers to changes in the prices of imported foods, medicines, soaps, clothing among others.

    In other words, the prevailing hyperinflation has the additional effect of weakening the Venezuelan currency which in turn could potentially have either a positive or a negative net effect on the country’s current account creating either a surplus or a deficit depending on what economists term the elasticity of demand for the country’s exports and its imports. The latter could also sharply impact either positively or negatively the country’s growth rate, employment, income growth, interest rate and ultimately the material living standards of its people.

    Thus for the foregoing reasons, it’s indispensable that the Maduro government urgently stabilizes the economic situation not only to improve the access of the people to basic consumer goods but also that it uses the available policy measures to aggressively contain inflation.

    The latter policy actions will not only solidify the mass support of the revolution and at least neutralize if not regain the support of those supporters who may have become sympathizers or supporters of the counterrevolution. However, additionally such policy actions are also necessary because of their political benefits for the revolution,namely, to reduce the influence of the counterrevolution to mobilize poor and working people against their own class interests.

    The latter is especially important in the context of the deteriorating political situation where the counterrevolution not only controls the balance in the National Assembly but they are now openly demanding mutiny among the armed forces against the revolution and its constitutionally elected government.

    Furthermore, the US empire is clearly coordinating an increasingly aggressive offensive with their political servants like Henrique Capriles et al but the empire itself is directly adopting actions such as its recent incursions in Venezuela’s air space. It is obvious that the empire’s objectives are perhaps two-fold here. First, to consciously worsen the country’s security situation so as to force the revolution to divert more of its sparse resources to protect itself from the mighty empire and its domestic allies instead of investing them in education, health like fighting the deadly Zika virus and other popular programs. Second, it is also plausible to believe that by its own deliberate acts of aggression against the country’s airspace, the empire intends to give the overt green light to their local servants that the ” hour of truth” is now, that is the game is on to overthrow the elected Maduro government. In other words, political loyalty according to the failed presidential candidate Capriles is defined as being either for the revolution or the constitution which is another way of saying those who oppose the revolution.

    As such, the duly elected Maduro government should use the state of emergency to achieve two principal short term objectives both of which are intertwined to defend the revolutionary gains of the people. The first objective is to stabilize the economy and improve the access of the population to basic consumer goods. The second objective is to stabilize the deteriorating political and security situation in the country that the political enemies of the revolution are determined to keep exploiting with their ultimate goal of regime change in mind.

    Should the government achieve both of these objectives in short order, there will probably be medium and long term benefits to deepen and strengthen not only the support of the revolution but also its appeal to win back the National Assembly from the counterrevolution and to retain the presidency in future elections.

    Failure to achieve these objectives will significantly diminish the prospects for the survival of the revolution and will return the majority of Venezuelans to be exploited and treated once again like slaves in their own country by the same wolves who pretend to care about their interests and well being today.

    “Peace begins when the hungry are fed”

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