Maracaibo’s La Verdad published an article today in which it points out that the minimum monthly salary in Venezuela covers only 13% of the cost of the nutritious food basket, a unit of measurement that calculates the cost of all the foods a person needs to eat in order to have a balanced, nutritious diet.

In the article, La Verdad claims that the price of the nutritious food basket has increased 713.3% since January of 2014, when it cost Bs. 8,590. Today, the nutritious food basket costs Bs. 69,868.08. Gustavo Machado, a professor in the Faculty of Sciences and Economics at the Universidad del Zulia, told the newspaper:

This indicates that the country’s political orientation is not effective, because we’re seeing how prices are increasing at a rate much faster than income. As a consequence, Venezuelan consumers have seen their power of acquisition diminished.

La Verdad blames the Ley Organica de Precios Justos, which came into effect in January 2014, as the primary culprit for the situation. The law sets out strict price and profit controls, setting a limit on the latter at 30% for anyone selling anything in the country, including supermarkets and market vendors. When government agents visit supermarkets or community markets to enforce the pricing laws, the results can be devastating for vendors who are forced to sell their products at steep losses.

Gilberto Gudiño Millán, the president of the union Empresarial del Comercio y los Servicios del Estado Zulia [Zulia State Commerce and Services Union], said that he visited a mercado popular [community markets similar to farmer’s markets in North America], where vendors complained that government agents had forced them to sell their products at extremely low prices. As a result, some vendors complained that the selling price for the items was less than 30% of the cost of the item.  Gudiño Millán told La Verdad:

The mercados populares [community markets similar to farmer’s markets in North America] are made up of small business owners, and they are the people. You can’t help the people by attacking them. It’s totally unviable. We are now attacking the last link in the chain, the mercados populares, and this is evidence of the crisis the country is living through.

“The Kingdom” Raid Unrelated to Flores’ Case

Authorities in the Dominican Republic issued a statement saying that the raid on “The Kingdom” reported below was not related to the investigation involving Efrain and Francisco Flores, and was in fact part of a separate investigation. The country’s Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD) [National Directorate for Drug Control] said today that the story as originally reported below “is in any way connected” to the case of the Flores cousins.

In the aftermath of the arrest of Efrain and Francisco Flores in Haiti, media reports erroneously connected the raid on a yacht called “The Kingdom” docked in the Dominican Republic to their case.

Maduro Promises to “Radicalize” Revolution, Fix Problems

Speaking at an event at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas earlier today, Maduro called the December 6 parliamentary elections a decisive moment in the history of Bolivarianism, and promised to continue to carry the banner of the movement forward. He told the crowd that the time had come “to defend the homeland”, and that it was up to each individual to decide:

… if you stand with the homeland, with the revolution, with socialism, or if you stand with the oligarchy and the right-wing that excludes people.

Maduro also said:

They have waged an economic war against the people to confuse and irritate them. I say to the people (…) and I promise: we will triumph on December 6! And I promise you from the bottom of my Bolivarian heart that with a victory on December 6 I will radicalize the revolution and I will fix all the mistakes and problems as much as I can.

Maduro To Lorenzo Mendoza: “You Will Lose Everything, Coward”

Speaking on national television at an event earlier today from La Guaira, Vargas state, Maduro went on a tirade against Lorenzo Mendoza, the head of the country’s largest food producer, Polar Enterprises. Maduro called Mendoza “a coward”, saying:

A little birdie told me that they were at a meeting with the pelucon del diablo [a derogatory term that means something like “aristocrat from hell”, referring to Mendoza], and he was pulling his hair like he was crazy because he didn’t understand all of the evil that he has done, hiding all the products from the people and charging whatever he wants for them. Well, after December 6 you will lose everything, pelucon del diablo. After December 6 you and I will face off, pelucon del diablo. I’m waiting for you after December 6, face to face, coward. Coward!

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

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