This evening, Maduro proposed holding a national debate to explore the idea of raising gas prices in the country.
Historically, Venezuela has enjoyed the cheapest gas prices in the world. According to Bloomberg, the cost of filling up a Chevrolet Suburban in Venezuela is approximately $1.56, while in the United States it would cost an average of $143.91.
Maduro’s proposal comes with a goal to spend the earnings from any gas price increase on social programs. Maduro said:
I propose that all the money that comes in goes towards a Social Fund here in the country for its necessities.
He also proposed splitting the funds in the following way:
- 20% for the Gran Mision Vivienda Venezuela [public housing projects]
- 20% for scholarships and the university system
- 20% for Mision el Amor Mayor [pensions]
- 20% for Patria Segura [policing]
- 20% for roads and services
Maduro elaborated, saying:
This would be a fair formula to balance the cost of gas.
The bourgeois says that we need the money urgently because we’re drowning [in debt], but that’s not true. But just because that’s not true doesn’t mean we’re not going to go ahead with this.
The topic of gas price increases is extremely sensitive in Venezuela. Many Venezuelans see cheap gas prices as an inalienable right. Most famously, the Caracazo of 1989 – a period of violent unrest that left hundreds dead – was started mostly by popular outrage at the government’s plan to increase gas prices.
Maduro made these comments during the closing ceremony of the third annual PSUV party congress:
MUD Shake-Up Continues
In the second high-profile resignation to rock the MUD in as many days, Ramon Jose Medina, the organization’s adjunct executive secretary, stepped down from his post today following Ramon Aveledo’s resignation yesterday. Medina resigned via a letter he addressed to Aveledo, in which he made the case for Venezuelans to ‘defeat apathy, conformity and fatigue“. The letter also says:
We are obligated to continue moving forward. To make clear the complex panorama on which we are unfolding. Us politicians must move beyond the immediate and, according to the ethics of responsibility, do that which is best for the common good. Felipe Gonzales puts it nicely in his latest book, “En Busca de Respuestas”, quoting that very attractive character, Winston Churchill: “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required”.
Maria Corina Machado gave a few words regarding the future of the Mesa de Unidad Democratica, which some in the opposition are calling to be overhauled. Machado said:
This [the overhaul] isn’t to divide it, but rather to strengthen it with a wide variety of different national sectors who understand that electoral matters have to be transcended.
Tower of David Evictions are 25% Done
The Minister for the Transformation oft he Greater Caracas Region, Ernesto Villegas, said that the process of evicting squatters from the Tower of David is 25% complete. According to Villegas, 310 out of the 1,156 families living in the tower have been relocated to a public housing complex in Valles del Tuy, Miranda.
International Travel Decreases
Minister of Tourism Andres Izarra said today that travel to destinations outside of the country as decreased 7% so far this year. Izarra blamed a “correction” in the way Venezuelans gain access to foreign currency as the culprit for the decline.