Maduro announced earlier this evening that he is heading to Cuba to meet with “high level” members of the island’s government in the next few hours. While Maduro did not explain the exact nature or length of his trip, its timing is interesting because US President Barack Obama is expected in Havana on Sunday.
After making his trip announcement, Maduro spoke on the National Assembly’s vote to reject the extension of his economic emergency decree, calling the legislature’s decision “erratic” and saying that he lamented the fact that “the National Assembly continues to show its back to the Constitution”.
Earlier today, the National Assembly voted to reject Maduro’s request to extend a declaration of economic emergency for another 60 days. The decree gives Maduro a set of vague powers the national government argues are vital to the nation’s recovery.
However, Maduro stressed that the National Assembly’s rejection of the measure is ultimately meaningless, since he claims that the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, the nation’s top court, told him that the decree was in full effect. Maduro said:
The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia has told me that the decree is in full effect, which is why it has been activated instead of cancelled.
Maduro also raised eyebrows by suggesting that the Toyota Corolla, which are assembled in a plant in Cumana, is an affordable option for the country’s youth and for middle class families. Maduro said:
In this specific case – now, no one get jealous! – they showed us a beautiful Corolla. This is an affordable vehicle for the youth, for the middle class, for the workers, for the Venezuelan family, and so every industry should make the effort to make [these types of] family vehicles.
A 2015 Toyota Corolla costs anywhere between Bs. 1.6 million and Bs. 1.9 million. The minimum monthly salary for Venezuelan workers is Bs. 11,577.81. A Venezuelan person earning this salary would have to save 100% of their monthly earnings for at least 11.5 years to be able to pay for the vehicle in full.
Motta Dominguez: 70% Reduction in Home Demand “Necessary”
Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez said earlier today that Venezuela’s attempts to curb its energy consumption was falling short, in effect failing to put an end to the prolonged energy crisis affecting the country.
While saying that electrical rationing efforts at the commercial and industrial level were proving fruitful, Motta Dominguez said that the residential sector had to cut its energy consumption by 70% or the country’s electrical grid could collapse.
Motta Dominguez said:
We’ve seen a reduction in [electrical] consumption of 40%. However, it’s necessary for the residential sector to [join in the efforts] to avoid a collapse.
Last month, the national government instituted an electrical rationing system throughout the country’s shopping malls.
Cabello: Media Pushing for Coup with US, Spanish and Colombian Help
PSUV Vice-President and National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello lashed out against the country’s private media during his television show Con El Mazo Dando last night. Cabello accused prominent media outlets of plotting to overthrow the government with the help of a cadre of Venezuela’s foreign enemies:
The [private] media owners – Televen, Globovision, Venevision – they’re involved in a coup d’etat again (…) In 2002, we defeated them and now we’re going to defeat them again. The only difference will be how we treat them.
Cabello explained that media outlets “generate opinions” against Maduro created in part by Venezuela’s “foreign enemies”, namely the “North American Empire”, the “Colombian oligarchy”, and Spain.
Cabello also repeated a popular line of thought among the PSUV elites: that the Venezuelan opposition would never again govern in Venezuela:
The people will never accept a right-wing government in this country (…) we will defend this revolution by any means.
Cabello said that he would “gladly give [my] life for the homeland”, and decried efforts by the opposition to see Maduro removed from office via a recall referendum.
Rationing Scheme Changes
Caraota Digital, an online news organization, cited an unnamed source inside the national government as saying yesterday that the ID card rationing scheme in effect throughout the country has been slightly altered. The website posted a picture presumably taken outside an supermarket in the country outlining the tweaks to the rationing regime, which allows Venezuelans to shop for basic necessities only on days of the week that correspond to the last digit of their national ID number.
Below, the picture in question along with my translation:
WE ARE INFORMING YOU THAT STARTING ON 15-03-2016, BASIC NECESSITIES (REGULATED PRODUCTS) WILL BE SOLD ACCORDING TO THE LAST DIGIT OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION CARD IN THE FOLLOWING WAY:
MONDAY – 8-9
TUESDAY – 4-5
WEDNESDAY – 6-7
FRIDAY – 0-1
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