Maduro spoke on fears raised by Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and published by the Spanish newspaper EFE that Maduro would try to fabricate a crisis in order to have a justification for cancelling this year’s parliamentary elections. Maduro said that EFE was “stupid” for printing the suggestion, and:
Those who attempt to overthrow the government have created a matrix that says that I, a Bolivarian, will attempt a coup. So Machiavellian! The people who run EFE are stupid and they hate us. We’ve got the love of Chavez’s people where, and we will defeat their lies. They say that I want to mount a coup so that, after, I can suspend the elections because supposedly the opposition is going to win by a landslide.
Maduro also made the assurance that the elections will take place this year:
I also want to tell the stupid people at EFE that, rain or shine, there will be parliamentary elections in Venezuela this year. What’s more, we’re going to win them! The people will deliver a beating [to the opposition]! Let’s get ready for our victory!
Turning his attention to the opposition, Maduro criticized them for “diving our people”:
The opposition only knows how to cause harm. They don’t have a single positive idea for the country (…) They’ve tried to take into dangerous situations of violence and national division.
FEDECAMARAS Criticizes SIMADI
U.S. dollars finished the day’s trading in the SIMADI official exchange market at Bs. 177.64, and continued to make up a minuscule fraction of dollars exchanged through officials means in the country. Only 1.79% of all U.S. dollars exchanged in Venezuela today passed through SIMADI, while the other 98.21% were exchanged through the other two markets – CENCOEX and SICAD – at the rate of Bs. 6.30 and Bs. 12 per dollar, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (FEDECAMARAS) issued a statement today in which it warned that the SIMADI exchange market is actually worsening the country’s economic crisis. The first vice-president of FEDECAMARAS, Francisco Martinez, said:
We don’t yet have a truly trustworthy, transparent and fluid system for the acquisition of foreign currency, something which is needed for the scheduling of purchases of industrial goods and raw materials for production in Venezuela.
Martinez argued that the SIMADI market as it exists today does not allow for “constant trust”, which in turn makes it extremely difficult for business to make medium and long-term purchasing and investment plans.
AN Deputy: Black Market Dollars Buyers are “Dumb”
The first vice-president of the National Assembly, Elvis Amoroso, said today that Venezuelans who buy U.S. dollars in the black market are “dumb”:
There’s a few dumb Venezuelans and business people who go out and they buy U.S. dollars according to whatever price they set there, when this is all part of a destabilization effort. I say that they’ve been ‘dumbified’ by the exchange market.
Amoroso took aim at the wildly popular website dolartoday.com, which posts up-to-date exchange rate figures, including the one for the black market. Venezuelans wishing to buy or sell U.S. dollars illegally often check the website to see what the “going rate” is.
Amoroso accused said:
Mr. Ravell [who runs dolartoday.com] sets whatever he prices he wants [for the black market rate] and then a bunch of dummies come out and say that that’s the price for the day.
In Venezuela, individuals who need foreign currency and are unable to obtain it through official channels have little choice but to turn to the black market.
While Amoroso conceded that the amount of U.S. dollars traded through SIMADI is disappointingly low, he said that “things will get better”.
U.S. Tourist Visa Costs $30
Venezuela will now require U.S. tourists visiting the country to obtain a visa to do so. The visa will cost $30 and will allow for multiple re-entry and a stay of up to 90 consecutive days.
U.S. citizens interest in visiting Venezuela should apply for the visa 90 days prior to the start of their trip.
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