The Legatum Institute, a charitable public policy think-tank, published its 2014 Prosperity Index today. The index ranks countries based on a number of categories including economic health, governance, education, safety and security, and personal freedom.

This year, the title of “Most Prosperous Country” based on the examined criteria went to Norway. Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark and Canada took the next four spots, respectively.

Venezuela ranked 100, one spot behind Rwanda and one spot above Lebanon. According to the Index, Ghana, Algeria, Tajikistan, Namibia, Kyrgyzstan and 94 other countries are more prosperous than Venezuela.

In the American continent, Venezuela is ranked as the third least prosperous country, ahead of only Haiti and Honduras.

Venezuela Falls 22 Places Since Last Year

On a category-by-category basis, Venezuela’s standings worsened across the board. The result is that Venezuela fell 22 spots from the 2013 Index. Out of all categories, Venezuela ranked worst in “Governance”, which takes into account – amongst other things – the separation of power, government type, government effectiveness, and political rights.

The full report on Venezuela can be found here.

Wilmer Barrientos Named Ambassador to Canada

The National Assembly voted in favour of naming Wilmer Barrientos Ambassador to Canada today.

Barrientos fought alongside Hugo Chavez during the 1992 coup, and went on to become a reach the rank of general as part of the Comando Estrategico Operacional de la Fuerza Armada Bolivariana [Bolivarian Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command] in 2012. Most recently, Barrientos was the Minister of Industry.

Government Halts Some Airline Ticket Sales

The Venezuelan government sanctioned Aerolineas Argentinas, Avianca, Aeromexico and Tame today for failing to properly display signs at their ticket booths in the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia. As a result, government officers put up signs at the affected booths saying that ticket sales were being suspended until the infractions were rectified.

However, the sanctions were symbolic, since the airlines have not actually sold tickets in the airport for the past several months. This is due to the fact that the Venezuelan government owes billions of dollars to foreign airline carriers, which forced some of them to cease operations in the country until payments were made.

Minimum Wage To Rise 15% in December

Maduro announced a 15% increase to the minimum wage today to take effect on December 1 of this year.

The increase is the third and final scheduled for this year, which means that the minimum wage will have increased 68.2% in Venezuela by the time the year ends.

While the rise might appear impressive, it is important to understand that the rate of inflation in August sat at 63.4%. Should inflation continue to rise as it has so far this year, it is not inconceivable that any potential benefit gained by a rise in the minimum wage could be made null – or worse – by inflation.

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