Venezuela

Venezuela Raises Minimum Wage, Public Sector Pay to Quell Protests

Government responds to inflationary pressure by contributing to it.

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Cristian Hernandez/EFE/Newscom

The Venezuelan government announced a minimum wage hike of 20 percent effective November 1, going from 22,576 Bolivars to 27,091 Bolivars, as reported by Caracas Chronicles, which cites the unofficial exchange rate at 1,350 Bolivars to the dollar. The official rate is about 10 Bolivars to the dollars. The minimum monthly wage, then, has gone up by $454 officially but only $3.34 in reality. There was also a hike in food subsidies, though one that's outpaced by rising food prices, and a 20 percent across the board wage hike for public sector workers, who will also see their Christmas bonuses start to be paid early.

"The more coups, the more hikes," President Nicolas Maduro explained according to Caracas Chronicles. Maduro framed the hikes "as an achievement, and not as a consequence of the wild inflation rates that we're experiencing thanks to his failed economic model," wrote Chronicles' Naky Soto. "It's no use to have more bolívars if they're worth less every day."

The deteriorating economic and political conditions in Venezuela have led to some of the largest anti-government protests since 2014, as well as a new round of political violence perpetrated by pro-government vigilantes against demonstrators. A national strike is scheduled for today. The National Assembly, the opposition-led legislature, in the meantime, has started to push for impeachment proceedings against Maduro, saying there had been "a breakdown of constitutional order and a continued state of coup led from the highest level of government by President Nicolas Maduro" in a resolution passed Sunday. This week, members of the parliament heard from victims of the Venezuelan government. Maduro blamed the U.S., insisting "Obama is leaving and wants to destroy Venezuela first." National Guard members have had to escort5 opposition lawmakers amid violence from pro-government vigilantes.

Earlier this week, Maduro had a surprise meeting with Pope Francis—the Vatican has indicated it wants to take a more active role in defusing tensions in Venezuela. The Vatican said the pope urged Maduro to open a "sincere and constructive dialogue" over the plight of Venezuelans. Were the pope not so staunchly "anti-capitalist," he could have pointed out that Venezuela's situation is not unique. Over the last quarter century, countries around the world saw standards of living and prosperity rise as they replaced authoritarian socialist governments with governments more tolerant of the kinds of free markets that help create, sustain, and spread wealth.

Instead, the Venezuelan government announced a new round of measures inserting the government into commercial processes its own push for over-regulation and centralization crippled in the first place, as protesters ask riot police whether they'll be killed for being hungry.

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  1. Build a wall around this place and show people the logical end of the politics of the left.

    1. If only the people who subscribe to leftist politics responded to logic.

      1. Yes, they’ll blame the results on the wall, not on the leftist policies.

  2. “The Vatican said the pope urged Maduro to open a “sincere and constructive dialogue” over the plight of Venezuelans. Were the pope not so staunchly “anti-capitalist,”” etc.

    I think the takeaway is that for all his Peronist-hippie tendencies, the Pope isn’t supporting the commies in Venezua – far from it, he wants them to work with the “evil capitalist” opposition. This will hopefully undermine Maduro even among the kumbaya lefty crowd, who will shift from making excuses for Maduro to explaining how he’s not a *real* socialist.

    1. I’m sure they think that if Hugo Chavez were still alive, Venezuela would be as prosperous as Cuba.

      1. Right, but now the focus will be distancing themselves from Maduro.

    2. Most of the ones I know have been on the “It’s not real socialism” bandwagon for a while.

    3. Like most socialists in authority he realizes that you can’t milk a dead cow. He and others like him have accepted that “real socialism” has to include a strategy whereby the government allows for some private industry and modestly free market behavior. They’ve got to allow some degree of entrepreneurship simply in order to have a funding source.

      1. The Nordics really do have that balancing act worked out pretty well. It’ll still fail ultimately, but that’s their shtick: have property rights and a market economy, kept around pretty much purely for the purpose of sucking it’s blood as long as possible.

  3. Venezuela meeting with Pope Francis for economic advice is like AA being sponsored by Jim Beam. “You don’t need to change a thing! Just more of what you’re doing!”

    1. Like I say, the focus is on the various Venezuelan groups working together, even the capitalist stooges get a seat at the table.

      I think Maduro is too far left even for this Pope, who in any case doesn’t like seeing economic suffering and civil unrest, whatever the cause.

      1. And like I also say, this gives the “Pope Francis Catholics” an out – they can be against Maduro without having to become icky reactionaries.

      2. Yet he’s constantly railing against the one system proven to get alleviate economic suffering on a grand scale…funny that.

        1. OK, but if you’ll pardon the expression, right now he not wearing his economic-naivete hat, he’s wearing his national-reconciliation hat, and that undermines the actual socialists in Venezuala.

          1. Fair enough, I’m sure his intentions are respectable, but here’s to hoping it will open his eyes to the economic reality of what he advocates.

            1. if a “sincere and constructive dialogue” doesn’t satisfy the starving proles, then what will?

  4. Maduro blamed the U.S., insisting “Obama is leaving and wants to destroy Venezuela first.”

    Obama: The George W. Bush of Venezuelan leftists.

  5. So, Venezuelans will have more worthless currency they can use to pay for non-existent products?

    1. If it’s paper currency, it can be used in place of some of those non-existant products…

    2. I’m surprised you aren’t still smacking your head against the wall. The lefties I work around have just suddenly (NOW?!?!?) realized that inflation and wages are related. That Maduro, the vile criminal, is merely token gesturing to the masses in an effort to, hopefully, keep his head.

      1. Realized or admitted?

        1. The Shadow knows.

    3. The extra currency is to be used in lieu of toilet paper, which is in short supply.

  6. This is what happens when you open up trade to foreign countries. It’s exactly the same problem as NAFTA. Trump was right again. Seriously I may have to vote for him.

    1. Do you want cake, AmSoc?

      1. Is that what anarcho-Trumpkins are eating these days?

        1. anarcho-Trumpkins

          Wut?

          No, never mind.

          1. Anarcho-Trumpkin says Wut?

            1. You one of those hillbullies?

              1. redcankle.

  7. See? Socialists always know exactly how to fix an economy.

  8. The Troll-pocalypse approacheth!

  9. I’m beginning to think this Venezuela place has some structural issues with its economy.

  10. These riots will be nothing compared to what the anarcho-Trumpkins have in store!

  11. Maduro 2020! /Bernie Bros and Stein Hos

  12. There is a plan for next Thursday, the 3rd of November, to have a march to the Presidential Palace of Miraflores to present Maduro with the demands to resign, etc. The protest rally yesterday was massive and likely to be massive next week too. (The gringo lewinsky press appears to be down-playing yesterday’s protests and general strike.) High probability of even more thug-state violence.

    1. The gringo lewinsky press

      What does “lewinsky” mean in this phrase?

  13. Having Maduro in charge of the economy is like having Foster Brooks driving your local school bus.

    Come to think of it, you could say the same thing about Bernie (and Hillary, since she adopted most of his policies).

  14. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.

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