Finally, Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has the proper executive tools he needs to combat the “parasitic bourgeoisie” and the imperialist conspirators waging “economic war” on his regime by inducing shortages of even the most basic goods, engendering the world’s highest annual inflation rate, and sending the local bolivar currency to historic lows against the U.S. dollar on the country’s black market. Man, I feel better about the whole situation already.
Venezuelan lawmakers granted President Nicolas Maduro yearlong decree powers on Tuesday that he says are essential to regulate the economy and stamp out corruption but adversaries view as a thinly veiled power grab.
Hundreds of supporters of the ruling Socialist Party cheered outside the National Assembly as the so-called Enabling Law was passed, while a recording of Maduro’s late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, singing Venezuela’s anthem rang out inside the hall. …
“With this Enabling Law we are following an order by President Chavez,” said Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly and a staunch supporter of Maduro.
“He told us to pass all the laws necessary to wring the necks of the speculators and the money launderers.”
With these new powers, Maduro intends to immediately stop the business class’s “gouging” and “usury” by limiting profit margins to 15 to 30 percent, as well create a new state body to oversee dollar sales by Venezuela’s currency control regime. …Yep, both of those action items sound like they’ll be super-duper effective in bringing about immediate economic relief for Venezuelans, and as for those who would accuse Maduro of a “thinly veiled power grab”? Why in the world would he ever do such a thing?
Forcing stores to sell their merchandise for a price that the owners say will put them out of business may sound like a bad idea, but President Nicola Maduro is not angling to improve the economy, Venezuelans say.
“This is going to help him and his party in the short term,” says Alfredo Ramos , a political science professor at the University of the Andes in Merida. “His actions are motivating his backers to go out and vote, and disheartening his opponents. However, his actions could very well hurt him in the medium term.” …
Taking a page out of the late Hugo Chavez’s populist playbook, Maduro is attacking the country’s producers and businesses to boost his United Socialist Party of Venezuela for local elections Dec. 8.
And just to really crack down on any illicit bolivar-dollar trading, Maduro’s regime had the good sense to personally ask Twitter to block any tweets that might help Venezuelans operate on that pesky underground market:
In response, Venezuela’s telecommunications regulatory agency, Conatel, said on Tuesday that it sent a letter to the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter, requesting that the social-media company take down accounts that publish the currency’s black-market rate. Twitter didn’t respond to a request to comment.
On orders from the president, Conatel previously blocked some 50 websites that distribute the underground exchange rate and opened administrative proceeding against several Internet service providers.
I have an unpleasant suspicion that the worst of Maduro’s rule is yet to come.