El Nuevo Herald published an article today in which it shows that during Maduro’s three years in power, the Venezuelan economy has shrunk 56% when measured in U.S. dollars.

According to statistics from the International Monetary Fund, the size of the Venezuelan economy has shrunk from $298 billion in 2012 to $131 billion by the end of this year.

The IMF also predicts that Venezuela’s GDP will shrink by 10% this year, and that the Bolivar has lost 25% of its value.

Steve Hanke, an economics professor at John Hopkins University, told El Nuevo Herald:

Even if you take the conservative [25% figure from the IMF], it’s a catastrophe of enormous proportions. It’s an economic contraction much greater than the one registered by the United States during the Great Depression.

Alexander Guerrero, an Atlanta-based economist, has calculated the country’s economic shrinkage at 66% in the same period, and told the newspaper:

It’s absolutely pathetic. We’re witnessing the total collapse of an economy. An economic contraction of these proportions might be a unique case in the world of the last 50 years. This never happens. The GDP of Iraq didn’t fall in this proportion during the war.

Formal Complaint Filed Against Mendoza, Hausmann

Earlier today, 101 PSUV National Assembly deputies headed to the Public Ministry in Caracas to file the formal complaint against Lorenzo Mendoza and Ricardo Hausmann, alleging that the men committed the crimes of treason, conspiracy and usurping state functions [usurpacion de funciones].

The allegations stem from a private conversation the two men had at some point regarding the size of a hypothetical IMF aid package for Venezuela.

PSUV Deputy Pedro Carreño filed the complaint, which was received by Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz. Diaz assured the deputies that her office would launch an investigation into the allegations.

IMF Denies Venezuela Negotiations

In the wake of government accusations that the IMF is secretly negotiating with Venezuelan business leader Lorenzo Mendoza to provide an aid package to the country, the organization issued a statement today saying that no such negotiation is taking place.

A spokesperson for the financial body told Spain’s EFE:

The International Monetary Fund is not negotiating a financial aid package for Venezuela with anyone.

Earlier today, PSUV National Assembly deputies filed a formal complaint before the Public Ministry against Mendoza for allegedly negotiating with the IMF on behalf of Venezuela.

Torrealba: Complaint Against Mendoza “Political”

The head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Jesus Torrealba, said during a press conference today that the accusations against Lorenzo Mendoza are nothing more than an attempt to “polarize” Venezuelans before the December 6 parliamentary elections.

Torrealba said:

This is an absurd regime and its logic is absurd. They’re doing this out of mere political and electoral desire. Mr. Maduro is desperate to polarize the country as it was ten years ago.

Torrealba also praised Polar, the company Mendoza heads, and criticized government incompetence and inefficiency, saying:

I wish the government was half as efficient as Polar in producing food and well-being.

All Flights Out of Venezuela Booked Til 2016

Julio Arnaldes, the head of the Asociacion Venezolana de Empresas Mayoristas y Representantes de Paquetes Turisticos [Venezuelan Association of Wholesale Industries and Tourist Package Representatives] said today that all flights out of Venezuela have been booked until the Christmas season.

Arnaldes explained that the demand for tickets out of the country outstrips supply “more or less by 30%”, leading to a shortage in seats. Arnaldes also said that 95% of tickets were sold in U.S. dollars, given the fact that airlines “don’t dare” to sell tickets in Bolivares. This is because the body responsible for exchanging Bolivares to foreign currencies, CENCOEX, is notoriously slow to – and sometimes outright unable – to conduct the exchanges.

CENCOEX currently owes foreign airlines $3.7 billion. This debt has forced many airlines to halt service to Venezuela, which has led to a reduction in available seats to and from the country of 55% since 2013.

Supermarkets Start the Day With Empty Shelves

At least two state-run Bicentenario supermarkets started the day off today with empty shelves.

Below, pictures from inside a Bicentenario somewhere in Zulia state:

The Bicentenario in Parque Central, Caracas also had empty shells this morning:

Rodeo II Prisoners Release 2 Hostages

Inmates at the Rodeo II prison in Miranda state released two of their hostages from captivity earlier today, leaving the total number of hostages in the prison at two. The remaining hostages are a doctor and a social worker.

People’s Defender Tarek William Saab announced the release of the hostages through Twitter.

Last Friday, inmates at the prison took staff from the Ministry of Penitentiaries hostage. Negotiations have been ongoing since.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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