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Maduro made some interesting remarks today by announcing that he would begin to delegate a large quantity of his work to other government officials so that he can focus all of his time and energy to defeat the so-called “economic war” in 2015. Below, a video of the announcement along with my translation:

Maduro: I’m going to delegate all of the political, government and social agenda in the first trimester of 2015 to the [Cabinet Ministers], Vice-President [Jorge] Arreaza and the vice-presidents of the government – Elias Jaua, Rafael Ramirez, Ricardo Menendez, Hector Rodriguez, and Marcos Torres so that I can concentrate 24 of hours a day on winning the economic war for the prosperity of our people. I won’t do anything else!

So, you are going to see me touring factories, ports, fields, the border, to defeat the criminal mafia that has imposed an economic war on our people! You will come with me on this battle. I ask for the support of the working class, the patriotic businessmen, and the youth. Let’s make the year 2015 the year of the re-launch of our productivity, of the economic diversification of the country, of the economy. Let’s tend to our economy.

We have to [create] a set of necessary economic balances to: first of all, safeguard employment; second, safeguard incomes; and to strengthen the missions.  The best economic strategy is a strategy of social development ad equality. Well, that’s what we think. The Venezuelan people know this.

In terms of the economic, we’re going to advance with the functional transformation of politics and institutions. Personally, as I am in charge – as Commander Chavez left me – and dedicated 24 hours a day, I’m going to liberate [my] agenda of so many of the compromises I have. I have a lot of compromises. You see me every day inaugurating a socialist mission base, a high school, a school, [helping to] get the rice harvest going, handing over public works… well, that’s all going to continue, but I am liberating myself of those responsibilities and dedicating myself 24 hours a day with the people’s support to recovering the production capacity of our economy of our homeland.

Let’s win this battle against these difficulties, against these problems, against the economic war! Do you agree? So it’s approved!

Maduro did not elaborate on what the “necessary economic balances” he has in mind – if any – are.

Some shots from the demonstration today:

Jose Vicente Rangel, former vice-president, Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs:

If you’ve ever wondered what a PSUV demonstration looks and sounds like from the ground, La Patilla sent a journalist into the march today in Caracas. The hastily-organized demonstration (called by Maduro late last week) took over the Bolivar Avenue in Caracas:

Opinion

As far as Maduro speeches go, the one today was particularly disjointed and confusing. Some points of ambiguity:

  • Is he actually going to be delegating power, or just ceremonial power? At first, Maduro said, “I’m going to delegate all of the political, government and social agenda”. This suggests that he’s handing over at least some of the power he has to create and change policy. However, he later said that his current compromises – inaugurating schools and handing over public works – take up too much of his time, so he’s going to delegate those duties. Yet these kinds of duties are mostly ceremonial. So what exactly is he delegating?
  • Maduro’s current compromises (“inaugurating a high school, a school…”, etc.) seem awfully similar to what he plans to do to win the economic war (“touring factories, ports, fields, the border…”) In neither case is Maduro actually doing any work. Photo ops don’t set policy, and they don’t win wars.
  • Maduro also said that his government was going to make some changes to the economy, but he neglected to talk about them at all.

 

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