National Assembly deputy and economic Jose Guerra spoke today on last night’s announcement by Maduro on the introduction of the Bolivar Soberano, and called into question both the timing and the thoroughness of the measure.
According to Guerra, the life of the Bolivar Soberano has already gotten off on the wrong foot, in part due to lack of time. For Guerra, June 4–the day on which the Bolivar Soberano is scheduled to begin circulating–is too close a deadline, which makes it impossible to conduct “the tests and system adaptations” necessary to ensure a smooth and effective transition to the new currency.
Guerra pointed out that the Venezuelan context makes planning for the roll-out of a new currency all the more difficult, given the fact that the country has the highest inflation rate on the planet. On the fact that the largest bill in circulation starting on June 4 would be the Bs. 500 note, Guerra said:
With an average monthly inflation rate of 50%, which is the case now, in one year and three months the new currency no longer works. The 500 note will be worth nothing.
Guerra also called attention to the fact that the last time that a Venezuelan government introduced a new currency was in 2008, when Hugo Chavez replaced the Bolivar with the Bolivar Fuerte. Guerra pointed out that Chavez gave himself 10 months between the time he announced the conversion until the day that the Bolivar Fuerte began to circulate, while Maduro has only given himself barely over two months. Guerra said:
What Chavez did in 10 months Maduro wants to do in two, and under a different situation.
BCV: Bolivar Fuerte Will Circulate Until June 3
Ramon Lobo, the president of the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), clarified today that the currency in circulation today in the country–the Bolivar Fuerte–would have value until June 3. Lobo also said that the BCV would ensure that the Bolivar Fuerte bills and coins remained in circulation until that day:
We guarantee the people that they can count on the monetary units that they need in the form of coins and bills.
Lobo also revealed that the BCV would soon meet with the country’s banks in order to begin coordinating the conversion from the Bolivar Fuerte to the Bolivar Soberano, and that it would work alongside the Ministry of Education to inform people about the currency conversion in the coming weeks. Lobo said:
We will hold the necessary debates in different forums [to ensure] the greatest amount of comprehension by the Venezuelan people.
Faria: Economy Will Improve After Election
National Constituent Assembly deputy Jesus Faria repeated a popular regime claim during a radio interview today regarding the state of the Venezuelan economy and the upcoming May 20 presidential vote.
Speaking on the Al Instante talk show on Union Radio today, Faria said that the Venezuelan economy would begin to improve once Maduro is elected president again on May 20. Faria said:
With the presidential elections we’re going to create a fundamental condition so that the economy can improve in a substantial manner, [and to] clarify the political horizon, and once we define the programs and those who will lead them, the nation will be able to concentrate on the most important problem which is combating inflation, recover production, generate employment and how we will move towards refinancing our foreign debt [sic].
Faria did not explain what he meant by creating “a fundamental condition”, or why the Maduro regime needs to wait until it is re-elected to begin to work towards alleviating the country’s economic woes.
NGO: 2,561 Murdered So Far This Year
The Observatorio Venezolano de la Seguridad Ciudadana [Venezuelan Citizen Safety Watch] (OVSC) revealed today that according to its own internal figures, there have been 2,561 murders in Venezuela so far in 2018.
According to the OVSC, Miranda state leads the country in homicides, having registered 370 so far this year. Aragua, Zulia, Carabobo and Bolivar states round off the top five, with 270, 246, 225 and 191 murders, respectively.
Caracas is listed sixth in the OVSC chart, with 165 homicides so far this year.
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