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Despite teasing announcements that would finally “win the economic war through socialism”, Maduro’s speech yesterday at the International Worker’s Day celebrations in Caracas was full of ambiguities.

While Maduro did announce a plan to “nationalize food and basic necessity distribution” (to be unveiled in 30 days), he did not explicitly say explicitly state the scope and nature of the program.  Today, the vice-president of Nutritional Security, Carlos Osorio, gave a few details about the program.

Osorio explained that as of today there were 3,815 consejos populares (citizen groups) tasked with:

… ensuring that the entire agricultural-nutritional cycle, [from] preliminary production, processing, commercialization, [and] distribution return to normal.

According to Osorio, having the consejos watch every step of food production, distribution and sale would spell the end of the so-called economic war:

This entire sabotage campaign over the last few months [will end]. We’re here with the people taking control of the distribution networks, as it should be.

Worker’s Union: Inflation “Took Away” Wage Increase

The secretary-general of the Confederacion de Trabajadores de Venezuela [Venezuelan Worker’s Confederation] (CTV), Manuel Cova, gave a press conference today in which he heavily criticized the 30% salary increase announced yesterday, calling it a “fraud”.

Cova pointed out that some seven million Venezuelan workers would not benefit at all from the wage increase:

The vast majority of Venezuelan in the economy’s formal sector – almost 7 million – will not receive this increase (…) the increase has already been taken away by the inflation of January and February, which is above 21% according to unofficial sources.

Not only was the increase essentially worthless, Cova said, but it was also announced with zero input from any of the affected parties:

We recognize that an effort was made, but as always, it wasn’t discussed with [the private sector] or workers, nevermind social organizations and unions. We have a right to be consulted about important decisions such as these.

Cova had harsh words for Maduro and his announcement, saying:

The President cannot continue to defraud the hopes and necessities [of the people] with these insufficient pyrrhic increases. [The increases] don’t ever cover the basic necessities [people have], and yet they hope to help the workers by giving them a wage increase.

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