Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez – the man in charge of food distribution and production logistics in the country – provided an updated on the Mision Abastecimiento Seguro today. The initiative, which started last week, saw Lopez receive an unprecedented amount of power in the name of solving the country’s scarcity crisis, as Maduro placed “every ministry and every minister” as well as “every institution of the state” under his person command.
Lopez said that the military had paid visits to 241 private and public companies in the country with the purpose of inspecting them and collecting information for production purposes. Lopez downplayed suggestions that the Mision essentially militarized the Venezuelan economy. Lopez explained:
This is about the security and the defense of the nation.
Lopez also stressed that the Mision works hand-in-hand with a broader, new productive model in the country, which he explained in the following way:
Socialism produces to satisfy needs, and that’s what we’re going to work towards to start breaking all of the chains of dependence and to formulate a new distributive and productive model.
Speaking on the overall quality and disposition of the Venezuelan armed forces, Lopez said:
We don’t consider ourselves to be a body foreign to this society, this people (…) We are a force with values, principles, with a drive to work and add to the development of the nation as is mandated by the Constitution.
Maduro Gives Kimberly-Clark Bs. 700,000,000
Maduro visited the recently-vacated Kimberly-Clark factory in Maracay, Aragua state today in order to announce that he was giving putting forward Bs. 700,000,000 (approximately $70 million US at the official rate) to help continue operations in the company’s factories.
Kimberly-Clark, which produces household cleaning and hygiene products, left Venezuela earlier this month as its operations in the country were ground to a halt due to neglect from the national government. The government essentially expropriated all of the company’s facilities on July 11.
Maduro was optimistic that his government could run the company, saying:
We are going to recover 100% of this company’s production.
During his inspection of the plant, Maduro took the time to attack National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup, saying that “his time would come” because the voters would eventually remove him from power. On the National Assembly in general, Maduro said:
What was the National Assembly done for this country, for this economy? They’ve joked around, damaged, sabotaged, and lobbied the world. They haven’t done anything. Each day it thinks and acts in evil ways.
National Assembly Approves Salary Protection Law
The National Assembly voted today to approve the Ley Especial de Proteccion del Salario [Special Salary Protection Law], which seeks to strengthen and protect the minimum monthly salary in Venezuela.
The law establishes the creation of periodic reviews of the minimum monthly salary along “bands” that take into account the constant and sustained devaluation of the Bolivar with the goal of maintaining a realistic, up-to-date minimum monthly salary that accurately reflects the lived economic condition of the Venezuelan worker.
During the debate of the bill, MUD deputy Tomas Guanipa pointed out that the average minimum monthly salary in Latin American is $280 per month, while that of Venezuela is $20.
PSUV deputy Ricardo Sanguino spoke in opposition to the bill, saying:
The revolutionary government is the only one that has taken the care to increase the minimum salary.
Opp. Meets Samper As Pre-Dialogue Continues
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica met with UNASUR secretary general Ernesto Samper today as part of the pre-dialogue process that might see the opposition and the PSUV sit down and seek a joint solution to the Venezuelan crisis. Samper was joined by former Spanish Prime Minister Ernesto Zapatero as well as former Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez.
After the meeting, Henry Ramos Allup said that the opposition had still not agreed to attend a dialogue with the PSUV:
… we haven’t agreed to a dialogue, nor have we discounted the possibility either.
Allup also said that as far as the opposition is concerned, the main point of the dialogue would be to finalize the details of the recall referendum against Maduro, which he stressed must take place this year. Allup also said that the MUD would probably reach a final decision on whether or not to dialogue with the PSUV this weekend.
Survey: Maduro Would Lose Referendum By 40%
The results of a survey by the Datanalisis firm released today show that if there recall referendum against Maduro were held today, he would lose by 40%, and that 75% of Venezuelans would vote in favour of the recall.
Jose Antonio Gil, the director of Datanalisis, spoke on the findings, saying:
In my 50 years I’ve never seen a government which 75% of Venezuelans want to recall, and that 96% of the population considers the country’s economic situation to be bad.
The survey also found that 10% of Venezuelans who consider themselves chavista would also vote in favour of recalling Maduro.
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