Maduro has announced that he is ready to present the national budget for 2018 before the Constituent Assembly next week, a move that is illegal according to Venezuelan law.
Maduro made the announcement by saying:
We are finishing up the last few bits of the budget for the country. Next week, we will be getting the budget ready (…) the [Constituent Assembly] will debate it, and the country will have its budget.
Maduro suggested that presenting the budget before the Constituent Assembly, which is a rubber-stamping body comprised entirely of hand-picked regime supporters, will ensure that the opposition-controlled National Assembly will not be able to “sabotage” it.
The Constituent Assembly, which was elected via fraud on July 31, is in theory tasked only with drafting a new national constitution. However, the regime is using the body as a legislative branch, effectively eliminating the National Assembly.
Maduro Arrives in Kazakhstan for Islamic Nations Summit
Maduro arrived in Kazakhstan this evening to attend the 14th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the capital of Astana. Accompanied by an entourage that included his wife, Cilia Flores, Maduro arrived on a Cubana de Aviacion airplane. After stepping off the plane, Maduro told waiting reporters:
This is the first time that a Venezuelan president has come to Astana. We’ve come with a Constituent [Assembly] delegation that is headed by the president of the International Commission of the National Constituent Assembly, our friend Adan Chavez [Hugo Chavez’s brother]. This lighting-fast trip will be fruitful.
Speaking during a televised address yesterday evening, Maduro announced the trip by saying:
In a few minutes, I will leave for this meeting, this summit. This is the first trip I will take to Kazakhstan, a great central Asian nation that is a world power, one of the emerging commercial energy powers, financial [sic], in that important region of the world.
Perhaps because Venezuela is not a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and only 0.4% of Venezuelans are Muslim, Maduro explained that 57 “brother nations to Islamic states” had also been invited to the summit, and that:
… On top of that, this will be a special, unique opportunity to activate economic, energy, commercial, financial cooperation agreements with countries that are very important to the new world that has come up.
Speaking to reporters in Astana, Maduro elaborated on the purpose of the trip, saying:
We’ve come to really push for a dialogue of civilizations (…) as a mechanism of peace in the face of some many threats. And to diversify our economic and commercial relations with all of the countries of the world: Asian countries, Middle Eastern countries, Muslim countries, Arabic countries.
Below, images of Maduro as he arrived in Astana this evening:
Economist Ridicules Plan to Abandon US Dollar
During a televised address last night, Maduro and vice president Tareck El Aissami made a series of announcements related to the economy, to the effect that Venezuela will no longer use the US dollar as its preferred international business currency. Among the announcements made last night are the termination of US dollar exchange through official banking channels in Venezuela, as well as a plan to sell oil to China for yuan.
For economist César Aristimuño, the announcement was ridiculous. Citing the fact that Venezuela sells nearly a million barrels of crude oil to the United States each day–oil that is paid for in US dollars–Aristimuño asked:
Are we going to stop exporting 800,000 barrels of oil per day to the United States?
Aristimuño told Spain’s EFE that Venezuela has made approximately $10 billion in oil sales to the United States this year alone, and that the figure represents a vast majority of the income in US dollars that the country earns.
The economist pointed out that the regime’s plan to stop Venezuelans from exchanging Bolivares for US dollars is flimsy and likely to fail. Aristimuño explained that if Venezuela continues to earn US dollars through oil sales but only allows citizens to exchange bolivares for currencies like the yuan or the yen, then the treasury would open itself up to losses in the exchange:
If [Venezuela] receives dollars and gives out yuan, it runs the risk that the exchange will provoke huge losses for the country.
Aristimuño also said that Maduro’s promise to force Venezuela to “move beyond the dollar” is absurd, even if it involves–as Maduro announced–the introduction of Asian currencies into the Venezuelan marketplace. Aristimuño explained:
The parity purchasing power of every currency is measured in dollars (…) Everything is [done through] the dollar. There’s no other frame of reference, because when we say that the euro rose or fell it’s in relation to the dollar: not the yuan, nor the Russian currency, nor the Indian currency.
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