In what’s becoming a weekly occurrence, two more airlines announced today that they would be cutting operations in Venezuela due to the outstanding debt the government owes the industry. This time it is Lufthansa and Aerolineas Argentinas, according to the Asociacion de Lineas Aereas de Venezuela [Venezuelan Airlines Association] (ALAV).
Starting in August, both airlines will cut their services in the country.
Lufthansa will reduce its flights from five to three per week starting August 3, and Aerolineas Argentinas will make its own reductions starting on August 8. Instead of using an Airbus A340-300 for its five weekly flights, the airline will switch over to a one flight per day schedule using a smaller Boeing 737-800, which equals a seat reduction of 230 (from 1420 weekly seats now to 1190 after August 8).
Maria Corina Machado Formally Charged
Opposition figure Maria Corina Machado was formally charged today with the crime of public instigation, stemming from her alleged role in the disturbances that took place in the country back on February 12.
The Public Ministry informed Machado of the charge after she made an inquiry regarding a travel ban that the government has placed on her. Machado explained:
I was never informed that I was a witness, or that I was being investigated for any crime, and also that a ban was placed on me from leaving the country, which they did 24 hours after I went down to the [sheriff’s office], where I [was interrogated] for more than 8 hours.
Machado explained that she only found out that she had been banned from leaving the country after reading about it in a newspaper, and from then hearing it from Diosdado Cabello on his television show, Con El Mazo Dando.
Machado pointed out that it made no sense for Cabello to have known about the investigation against her before she did, since he’s not involved in the case at all.
Tachira Governor: “Guarimbas will never come back to Tachira”
Tachira governor Jose Vielma Mora made some comments today regarding the guarimbas [barricades] in his state. Vielma Mora said:
… in Tachira, we defeated them [the protesters], and guarimbas will not come back to Tachira.
Vielma Mora also called on his supporters to “keep working every day, permanently fighting together”, and asked them to support the Maduro government to ensure that “Tachira keep itself moving towards the revolution”.
Venezuelan Inflation is 8 Times Latin American Average
According to El Nacional, the current Venezuelan inflation rate is 8 times the average in all of Latin America. Between 2008 and 2014, the total inflation rate stands at 445%. The high rate makes for some interesting price difference over the past six years, which El Nacional has outlined:
- Hair dye: 13 bolivares (2008) vs. 65 bolivares (2014)
- Liquid yogurt: 5.6 bolivares (2008) vs. 80.3 bolivares (2014)
- Chicken (1 kilogram): 8.39 bolivares (2008) vs. 43 bolivares (2014)
Over the last six years, the bolivar has lost 83.4% of its value, according to an analysis of figures from the Banco Central de Venezuela [Venezuelan Central Bank] by the Econometrica firm.
Venezuelan Productive Power “Destroyed”: FEDECAMARAS Chief
Jorge Roig, the president of the Federacion de Camaras y Asociaciones de Comercio y Produccion de Venezuela [Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce] (FEDECAMARAS), had some worrying words regarding Venezuelan industry.
In an interview with Union Radio, Roig said:
I’m not saying that the [economic] problem is due only to the foreign exchange [problems], which are very serious. The central theme revolves around the destruction of the productive apparatus, which is incapable of responding with speed. Our ability to produce in this country has been destroyed.
Roig explained that while the government has been gaining ground when it comes to handing out foreign currency to Venezuelan industries, there is very little the government can do in order to fix the underlying economic crisis. Roig maintains that this is due to the fact that the government has been doing things wrong for too long:
Inflation will be high whether or not [the government] takes the right measures [starting now].
The FEDECAMARAS president estimates that if the government were to start making sound decisions now regarding the economy, the first semester of 2015 would play out better than the one this year.