Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafael Ramirez reiterated today comments made by Maduro yesterday that “extraordinary economic measures” were on the way to try to rescue the Venezuelan economy. While Ramirez did not elaborate on what the measures were, he did assure that they were imminent. He made the comments to the press gathered outside of a MERCOSUR meeting today in Argentina.
Below, a video of some of the comments Ramirez made today:
Ramirez: Look, Venezuela is suffering from an economic war. What they’re doing with our economy – trying to destabilize us – has been a sustained effort undertaken by big economic sectors who are opposed to our country. From the very moment we took control of our oil industry, when we achieved the rescue of our sovereignty through the management of our natural resources… you know that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on the planet. From that moment, we’ve suffered a permanent attack against our country from outside our borders through different mechanisms – for example, through [distressed security funds?]. And now, there is a sustained offensive against our country from within in terms of the economy, which is affecting our currency a lot, [they’re] attacking our currency. Oil prices are also an attack against our country. It’s an attack – the oil price situation – that doesn’t have a basis in the international oil prices. Rather, it’s the result of strong geopolitical factors. It has to do with the sanctions against Russia and the situation in the Middle East, and this reflects on our economy.
So, we — the President has announced, will announce a series of extraordinary measures to help our economy, but to start, we won’t allow our social development plans to be affected. We live through a similar situation in 2008. In the middle of 2008 the price of oil was at $140 per barrel and fell to $35, and yet the main goal of the Bolivarian revolution was – and continues to be – defending, regardless of any macroeconomic situation, social development, education, in other words, our main social politics.
Reporter: [Question about the Venezuelan Central Bank neglecting to publish interest rates since September]
Ramirez: This is something that the Venezuelan Central Bank has been doing, and will continue to do.
The last question by the reporter refers to the fact that the Venezuelan Central Bank has failed to publish inflation information since September, something which Ramirez is apparently not aware of.
National Assembly Rejects U.S. Sanctions
Deputy Jesus Cepeda (PSUV-Guarico) called the sanctions “a violation against Venezuela’s sacred sovereignty”, and said:
They [the United States] do not have the moral authority to make any kind of complaint against Venezuela.
He also said that behind the sanctions was “international capitalism”, presumably out to get Venezuela.
The Minister of Penal Matters, Iris Varela, joined in the condemnation of the sanctions, saying:
I call on all my revolutionary comrades and all Venezuelan people who have their documents [U.S. visas], it’s a good idea to make a big pile out of them and burn them. in other words, I’m calling for us to burn [the visas].
Varela also spoke on the sanctions last night during a television interview in which she said:
I demand to be on that [sanctions] list. I’m really offended and almost worried [that I’m not on it]. How is Iris Varela not on that list? (…) I demand to be put on that list, please.
Condemnation of the sanctions was not universal in the National Assembly. Deputy Juan Pablo Garcia (Independent-Monagas) reminded the chamber that the sanctions are against officials accused of some very serious crimes:
We can’t confuse the people. There are no sanctions against the country, [the sanctions] are against officials who have violated human rights.
During the same session, the National Assembly also approved the creation of a panel of judges to take to international courts:
… for crimes against humanity all the imperialists who have bombed and destroyed our sister peoples.