Maduro spoke today on Venezuela’s suspension from MERCOSUR, stating simply that the country would not be removed from the regional trade bloc despite the fact that its members – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – have agreed to the move.

Maduro also announced that he had requested a meeting for Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez to discuss the matter. Uruguay is the country most sympathetic to Venezuela in the bloc. Maduro hinted at the message that message that he would give to his Uruguyan counterpart, saying:

[I will say to him] don’t do that to Venezuela. I’m ready to go to Montevideo or anywhere you want so

Maduro complained that the official document informing Venezuela of its suspension came in the form of a fax instead of through certified mail, saying:

They didn’t even mail it to us.

On the decision to suspend Venezuela for the country’s continued human rights abuses and nightmarish economic performance, Maduro said:

It was an illegal and unjust decision. They judged us without giving us a right to defend ourselves. If I have to go [to MERCOSUR] by canoe or by bicycle, I will go there to express our ideas.

Venezuela was suspended from the trade organization on December 1 after it failed to meet many of the requirements set out in the Treaty of Ascension, the document that all member states must adhere to in order to join MERCOSUR.

Gov’t Orders Stores on Popular Strip to Lower Prices

The Superintendcia Nacional para la Defense de los Derechos Socioeconomics [National Superintendency for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights] (SUNDDE) sent inspectors to the popular Sabana Grande strip in Caracas and ordered stores in the area to lower their prices. The SUNDDE is the government agency in charge of enforcing price regulation laws in Venezuela.

William Contreras, the head of SUNDDE, told the press that the agency asked the stores in the area to reduce their prices by anywhere between 30-50%.

Oliveros: Annualized Inflation Rate Hit 1,007.6% in October

Economist Asdrubal Oliveros, the head of the Econanalitica firm, revealed today that he told a parliamentary economic forum on Wednesday that the annualized inflation rate for October – that is, the rate of inflation from October 2015 to October 2016 – sat at 1,007.6%, pushing Venezuela closer into the realm of hyperinflation.

Oliveros said that the Venezuelan economy was exhibiting some of the signs of hyperinflation, including the dollarisation of products. Oliveros said that the state of the Venezuelan economy is in such absolute distress given the fact that the country does not produce anything, and Venezuelans have no acquisitive power.

Oliveros also said that over the past 10 months, Venezuelan oil production has fallen by $2 billion, and that that the per capita GDP has fallen by 26.8% since Maduro came to power in 2013.

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