El Nacional published an article today in which it claims that the national government has handed out 60% less foreign currency this year than it did in 2014. The claim comes from Carlos Miguel Alvarez, and economist with Ecoanalitica. 

In Venezuela, access to foreign currency is strictly controlled by the government, forcing importers and other businesses to rely entirely on three separate mechanisms for foreign currency: 1) the Centro Nacional de Comercio Exterior [National Centre for Foreign Commerce] (CENCOEX), 2) the Sistema Complementario de Administracion de Divisas [Complementary Foreign Currency Administration System] (SICAD), and 3) the Sistema Marginal de Divisas [Margianl Foreign Currency System] (SIMADI).

Alvarez points out that between January and September of this year, the three mechanisms handed out $43.9 million per day, while last year they averaged $79.2 per day during the same time period. CENCOEX alone handed out 44.5% less foreign currency between January and September of 2015.

Alvarez also said that the government began to move more foreign currency through the three systems starting in June, and speculated that the motivation for the move was to bring in more imports into the country heading into the December 6 parliamentary elections.

The drying out of the foreign currency well is having devastating effects on the country. For example, the government has given the auto parts industry $17 million this year, a figure that represents 1.3% of the $1.5 billion debt the industry owes to foreign suppliers.

Poll: 82% Disapprove of Maduro’s Term

A poll by the Datincorp firm has found that the Maduro presidency continues to be extremely unpopular in the country, with 82% of respondents saying that they view his term negatively.

The firm’s head, Jesus Saguias, also forecasts that the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica will win 56% of the vote in the December 6 parliamentary elections, while the PSUV will win only 39%.

Maduro: Heat “Frying Little Brains I Got Left”

At an event yesterday in Barquisimeto, Lara state, appears to have misspoken and made an offbeat comical remark.

Maduro: With your permission, I’m going to take my helmet off. [The heat] is frying the few brains I’ve got left. “Maduro admits he doesn’t have brains!”, that’s what they’ll say, since they’ve got nothing else to say! But look, the topic of the peace, independence, and integrity of the homeland is really important. We’re living our life, like all countries…

Maduro: We Will Not “Hand Revolution Over”

Maduro ramped up his rhetoric on the parliamentary elections yesterday, saying during a televised speech that he was not willing to “hand over the revolution” to the opposition if it were to win on December 6. Maduro said that in such a case, he would continue to govern “with the people, always with the people, and in civil-military union” to ensure that the PSUV’s revolutionary agenda went on unhindered.

Maduro said:

If that scenario happens [and the opposition wins], negado y transmutado [I think this means, “and I deny that it will happen”], Venezuela would enter one of its most turbulent and disturbed period of its political life. We would defend the revolution. We would not hand the revolution over, and the revolution would enter a new stage.

Maduro also said that the opposition is not looking to win the election, but rather to “damage the country”, and that the PSUV would defend the independence of the country “no matter what the cost”.

Torrealba: MUD Will take Power Through Votes

The head of the Mesa de a Unidad Democratica (MUD), Jesus Torrealba, said tongue-in-cheek during a press conference today that since Maduro appears unwilling to hand over power in the event of a PSUV defeat on December 6, the opposition would simply take it from him.

Torrealba said:

Maduro’s finally right on one thing: he’s not going to hand over power. We’re going to take it from him with the people’s votes, with the mechanisms and procedures that the Constitution affords us.

Torrealba is confident in an opposition victory in December, and predicted that a defeated PSUV would have to seriously reconsider its existence in order to be able to tell people “something [new] in five, ten, fifteen years”.

State of Exception Extended in 4 Tachira Municipalities

The national government has extended the state of exception in Tachira’s Lobatera, Panamericano, Garcia de Hevia and Ayacucho municipalities for another 2 months. The municipalities have been under the state of exception since August 28.

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

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