Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz gave a speech today in which he stated bluntly that there would be no recall referendum against Maduro either this year or the next, for a number of reasons. Isturiz suggested that the opposition was fully aware that the referendum would not take place, but that they were pretending as if it were going to happen in order to appeal to its followers.

Isturiz listed the reasons why the referendum will not take place:

They [the opposition] know that there won’t be a referendum. They’re convinced of it. They’re just putting on an act. First, because they started it late; second, because they did it badly; third, because they committed fraud. And we already understand what they’ve done it. They don’t have anything. They’re lying to their people, they’re manipulating their people. They’re irresponsible to the people they command.

Isturiz did not provide any concrete evidence for his claim that the opposition had gone about the recall referendum process “badly”, or that they had committed fraud.

Speaking on Maduro’s future as President of Venezuela, Isturiz said:

Maduro won’t be removed by any referendum. You can forget about that. First of all, there won’t be any referendum.

Isturiz made the comments in Anzoategui state during an event in support of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Speaking on the extension of the economic emergency decree, Isturiz said that it was an effective tool of governance:

The economic emergency decree allowed us to make more than 21 decisions. Among them were some resources that they [the National Assembly] wouldn’t have approved, and we approved them via the economic emergency decree.

8,000 Companies Gone Bankrupt Under Chavista Rule

The Confederacion Venezolana de Industrias (CONINDUSTRIA) released figures today that show that 8,000 private companies have gone bankrupt over the past 20 years, mostly coinciding with the rule of Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro.

Juan Pablo Olalquiga, the president of CONINDUSTRIA, told Televen today that the figure represents a drop of about 2/3 since 1996. Olalquiga placed blame on the dramatic drop in private businesses in the country on the governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, whom he says have put in place policies that have essentially killed otherwise productive companies.

Olalqigua said that production in the last quarter of 2015 was “43% lower than its historic capacity”, and warned that 2016 was faring much worse.

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