Earlier today, the special National Assembly committee created to debate the merits of Maduro’s economic emergency decree proposal has voted to reject the measure, essentially signalling the proposal’s end.
Among the reasons for rejecting the proposals are the fact that it centralizes power in Maduro’s hands, it does not define the nature or scope of the emergency, and the assumptions on which the document is built are not reflective or reality, deputy Jose Gregorio Correa said.
Correa also said:
[Maduro] does not acknowledge the effects of any fiscal, monetary, exchange and price control policies that he is currently employing.
The committee also believes that the ambiguous wording of the decree would facilitate the misappropriation of funds and the further obscuring of fiscal policy.
Later in the afternoon, the vote went to the National Assembly, which approved the committee’s suggestion that the decree be rejected by 107 votes to 54. Every opposition deputy voted in favour of rejecting the measure, while every every PSUV voted against the rejection.
Maduro: National Assembly “Turned Its Back” on Venezuela
Sensing his economic emergency decree’s rejection by the National Assembly, Maduro said that he lamented the fact that the National Assembly was “turning its back” on Venezuelans by refusing to accept his proposal. Maduro also said that he personally ordered his cabinet ministers to not attend yesterday’s hearing at the legislature, since he believed that the event would be nothing but a “show”.
Yesterday, the National Assembly had summoned a number of ministers as well as the heads of PDVSA and the Central Bank to answer questions and offer their insights into the emergency decree. The ministers did not show up.
On the controversy, Maduro said:
I’m sorry that [the National Assembly] would choose to put on a confrontational, sterile show; we should not fall for that. We should believe in unity and work.
Allup: Gov’t Tried to “Set Us Up”
Earlier today, National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup suggested that the government had attempted to “cheat” its way into gaining approval for the economic emergency decree, but that opposition deputies had successfully eliminated that threat.
Allup said that by ordering his cabinet ministers to ignore the National Assembly’s summons, Maduro hoped that the decree would be accepted in relative secrecy. Allup suggested that the move might also have been aimed at throwing a wrench into the debate process with the hopes of catching the opposition off-side:
They would probably have given us past midnight, which was the [debate] deadline. Then, if we didn’t say anything before midnight, they would have gone into an administrative silence and the decree would have automatically gone into effect. That’s the trap they set.
Allup also speculated as to the reason Maduro did not allow his cabinet ministers to attend the hearing at the National Assembly yesterday:
How terrifying and negative must the figures be when it comes to our reserves and debt; they’re terrified because they don’t want to talk about the debt.
Forbes: “Venezuela Default Imminent”
Forbes published an article on its website today in which it qualified the question of whether or not Venezuela would default on her debts “no longer a question of if, but when”.
The article points out that as long as oil stays below $30 a barrel, PDVSA – which brings in over 90% of the country’s income – would have to use 90% of its revenue to ensure Venezuela meets her debt obligations. In other words, less than 10% of all of the money coming in to the country would be available to run the country.
According to the article, figures by the Banco Central de Venezuela released earlier this week show that the country’s foreign currency reserves sit at $14 billion, the lowest level ever. The country’s net assets shrank by $10 billion over the past year, and currently sit at $24 billion.
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