Spanish newspaper ABC claimed in an article published today that the Venezuelan government threatened Spanish corporations operating in the country with expropriation, unless the Spanish media took a softer stance against Venezuelan.
According to ABC, Venezuelan authorities summoned representatives from Spanish companies Repsol, BBVA, Mapfre, Air Europa, Iberia, and Melia o Tefefonicasi to the Miraflores Palace in Caracas on Thursday. During the meeting, the Venezuelan government told the business representatives that it was not pleased with the negative “campaigns” against Venezuela carried out by Spanish media. While ABC‘s sources claim that the meeting was “cordial”, the threat of expropriation was clear.
It is also alleged that Venezuelan officials raised issue with the media’s portrayal of Podemos, a left-wing political party, which receives support from Venezuela. Last month, the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party called on one of Podemos‘ leaders, Juan Carlos Monedero, to clarify his party’s relationship with Venezuela after receiving nearly one million Euros in shadowy payments from a Venezuelan benefactor(s).
During the meeting in Miraflores, the Venezuelan government singled out EFE and ABC as being particularly fierce in their condemnation of Maduro and his government. The latter published an article on January 27 of this year in which it claimed a former Cabello bodyguard had fled to the United States and accused him of heading a drug cartel.
Central Bank: “Time Has Come” For Gas Price Increase
The head of the Banco Central de Venezuela, Nelson Merentes, said today that the time had finally arrived for gas prices to increase in the country:
I think it has to be done. The time has come.
While Merentes did not give an opinion as to when exactly the price hikes should come into effect, he said that the current downward trend in world oil prices “is a good time” to think about drastic economic reforms.
He was also optimistic about the Venezuelan economy is 2015, saying that “there should be growth” this year, while a poll of 50 economists by Reuters last month called for a 2.0% contraction. The International Monetary Fund’s predictions for the Venezuelan economy are much more dire, prediction a 7.0% contraction in 2015 largely as a result of falling oil prices.
The Venezuelan economy is in a recession at the moment,
Venezuela Officially Has World’s Highest Inflation Rate
After nearly a month of delays, the Banco Central de Venezuela officially announced on Friday what was widely accepted as fact: at 68.5%, Venezuela has the world’s highest inflation rate. The figure corresponds to 2014.