The parade in Caracas to commemorate International Worker’s Day got underway today at around 12:30 PM.
At the end of the parade, Maduro announced that he was increasing the minimum wage by 30%; a 20% increase effective immediately and the other 10% effective July 1. The increase follows a hike of 15% in February.
Maduro also announced the creation of the Consejos Comunales de Abastecimiento y Produccion [Stock and Production Communal Councils]. The groups will operate in “every establishment, factory, work centre and organization”, and will apparently act as an watchdog organization against the so-called economic war.
Below, some shots of the today’s event:
Maduro Heckled During Speech
During his speech, Maduro was heckled by a number of individuals in the crowd. While it’s not clear what they were chanting, Maduro was clearly upset by their words.
Below, a video of the event along with my translation:
Hecklers: [inaudible chanting]
Maduro: [inaudible] much more than that, comrades. You know that you can count on my support. But, day by day, there’s much more than that. I would like to see you all personally to tell you four things, because you can’t be individualistic during this battle in which the entire homeland is engaged, for the rights of all workers!
You must correct your closed, individualistic viewpoint! You can count on my support, but you must correct yourselves. This isn’t how the struggle for worker’s rights go. Individualist, personalized — no! This is everyone’s struggle, or it’s no one’s struggle! There is homeland for all, or homeland for none! You can count on my support.
Maduro’s fiery admonishment appears to have done little to put the minds of at least some of the hecklers at ease. Starting at 0:56, the camera pans to a shot of the crowd. The man in the red shirt at the bottom of the screen holding an orange baseball cap and be clearly seen reacting with frustration to Maduro’s words.
MUD Disappointed By Maduro’s Speech
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica reacted to Maduro’s activities today, calling it a “shameful spectacle” that Maduro chose to start the day in Cuba instead of addressing Venezuelan workers.
In a written statement, the MUD also rejected the 30% salary increase as essentially worthless, citing a 90% annualized inflation rate and the near-certainty of triple-digit inflation for 2015.
Maduro, Entourage Began Day in Cuba
Maduro traveled to Cuba last night to take part in today’s International Worker’s Day celebrations in Havana. He was accompanied by Minister of Finance and the Economic Rodolfo Marco Torres and Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodriguez.
Maduro, alongside Cuban leader Raul Castro, watched a parade together in the city’s Plaza de la Revolucion. The parade was headed by Cuba’s Five Heroes; a group of intelligence officers accused of espionage who were released from United States custody on December 17, marking the begging of the thaw between the two nations.
Below, some shots of Maduro and company in Cuba:
Ledezma Transferred from Hospital
Six days after receiving surgery for a inguinal hernia, Antonio Ledezma was transported from the San Roman Urology Center to his home, where he is being allowed to recover.
The move was carried out by a large, heavily-armed security detachment, including agents from the country’s intelligence service, SEBIN, as well as the National Bolivarian Police.
Below, pictures from the move as it happened late last night:
Teacher’s Union: “Nothing to Celebrate” Today
The head of the Federacion Venezolana de Maestros [Venezuelan Teacher’s Association], Orlando Alzuru, said in an interview with Union Radio today that despite the government’s assertion to the contrary, teachers in Venezuela have nothing to celebrate today. Alzuru said:
We have absolutely nothing to celebrate. Today is a day of protest against the situation in which Venezuelan workers find themselves today, specially teachers.
Alzuru said that the majority of Venezuelan teachers must compliment their income with a second job, since they are not paid enough to make a living. He called on the national government to give teachers a salary raise, as what they currently make is not enough to cover even a fourth of the cost of a basic basket of food.
Alzuru pointed out that Venezuelan teachers earn less than a dollar a day, and called on the national government to increase their wages:
Our salary right now doesn’t even cover food. Venezuelan teachers have to go out on the street and do other jobs to compliment their salaries.
We demand that the government adjust our salaries. Today, a teacher needs six minimum wages to reach the Canasta Basica Familiar [the cost of purchasing a basket of staple foods]. A teacher cannot continue to make Bs. 5,556. This means that Venezuelan teachers earn less than one dollar a day.
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