Minister of Defence Vladimir Padrino Lopez spoke on the U.S. sanctions levied against Venezuelan officials – possibly including himself – today, calling them “dangerous”. Lopez (who is also the commander-in-chief of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces) said:
The bottom of this [the sanctions] goes much further, and it’s very dangerous, because these are steps that they [the Untied States] are taking to show the world that the Venezuelan state is a failed state, a rogue state, one that does not respect human rights.
I would say that these measures could be connected with an attempt to once again bring a violent end to peace in Venezuela and to take to the streets in a violent way, to repeat the scenario [seen earlier this year].
Finally, Lopez assured that Venezuela is a country that respects human rights, and made a general call to the country’s foreign detractors to visit the country and see reality with their own eyes:
Come to Venezuela, travel around the streets and see the reality of a country that, above all else, respects human rights.
Barrizbeitia: Economic Crisis “Doesn’t Touch” Miraflores
National Assembly Deputy Carlos Berrizbeitia (Carabobo) tracks government spending, particularly that connected with the Palacio de Miraflores, the official presidential palace. Today, Berrizbeitia released figures that show, as he claims, that the severe economic crisis affection millions of Venezuelans is not a factor in the lives of Miraflores’ residents. Berrizbeitia said:
In a country that has been beaten by a severe economic crisis, where thousands of families cannot afford basic necessities, the abundance and waste in Miraflores is unacceptable.
The government last raised the minimum wage to Bs. 4,889 (Approx. $776 at the official exchange rate; $49 in the black market) in November. With this in mind, Berrizbeitia released the following expenditure figures charged by Miraflores this year:
Note: All $US figures are calculated at the official rate.
- Travel expenses: Bs. 33,272,232 ($5,240,000)
- Telephone service fees: Bs. 9,164,342 ($1,429,240)
- Electricity: Bs. 897,717 ($141,381)
- Water: Bs. 1,701,289 ($267,936)
- Cleaning supplies: Bs. 7,300,412 ($1,149)
- Food and drink: Bs. 48,356,748 ($7,615,700)
- Clothing: Bs. 1,402,948 ($220,950)
- Shoes: Bs. 170,000 ($26,773)
- Personal hygiene products: Bs. 753,050 ($118,597)
- Laundry services: Bs. 969,680 ($152,174)
According to the figures, the presidential residence spent more on shoes this year than a Venezuelan earns in nearly 3 years making minimum wage.