The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) began the day by announcing early this morning that it had pulled out from a tenuous dialogue with Maduro’s PSUV party, citing the fact that the national government has not made any effort to abide by the agreements it made during the last round of talks in November.
The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, made the announcement early this morning, saying:
It would be a bit insincere on our part to sit down at the dialogue table as if everything was normal, when the government does not abide by its agreements and denies them.
At the same time, Torrealba said that the opposition was not abandoning the dialogue process altogether: rather, it is simply trying a different route given the failure of the current dialogue model. Torrealba explained by saying:
We will not remain at the dialogue table in the conventional sense. There are no conditions to allow us to attend these talks, because the other side never kept up [its agreements].
Torrealba explained that the MUD would continue to be in conversation with the PSUV, only this time through mediators like the Vatican.
New Bills Not So New
El Nacional published an article today in which it points that the new Bs. 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 bills due to enter circulation on December 15 of this year are in fact not so new. This because those exact same denomination bills were in circulation nine years ago before the Chavez government took the controversial step of removing three zeroes from the country’s currency in order to give the appearance that ti was somehow combating inflation.
The change took effect on January 1 2008, and saw prices and bills in Venezuela lose three zeroes overnight, turning – for example – Bs. 1,000 into Bs. 1. At the time, the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) heralded the change by saying:
[This move has been done to] strengthen the currency with the objective of finding economic stability, within the framework of policies that are oriented towards economy growth and the socio-economic development of the country.
Carlos Miguel Alvarez, an economist with the Ecoanalitica firm, said that the fact that the economic woes over the last nine years have added the three zeroes that were removed in 2008 is indicative of an inflation rate of 17,011%.
Another economist, Sary Levy, said that the introduction of the news bills – despite being symptoms of catastrophic economic performance – will actually help Venezuelans navigate their day-to-day lives. Levy said:
The decision came late, but at least it came. Now [people] won’t have to go around with huge bags of money to pay for any little thing. What’s important is that unless measures are taken against inflation, there will have to be another update [by introducing new bills] very quickly.
Opposition Marks Anniversary of Historic Win
Today, the opposition marked the first anniversary of its historic win in the 2015 parliamentary elections. The victory – which gave the MUD opposition bloc a super-majority in Venezuela’s National Assembly – signaled a turning of the tide for the PSUV, handing the chavista party the most stunning defeat in its entire history.
On December 6 of last year, Venezuelans elected 112 opposition deputies and 55 PSUV deputies to represent them in the country’s legislature.
The opposition’s victory last year forced an increasingly-cornered Maduro to look to the judicial branch and the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), both of which are still firmly under PSUV control, in order to keep himself in power.
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