Vice president Tarek El Aissami announced today that Caracas would soon levy more sanctions against Panama after the Central American nation announced yesterday that it was shutting its airspace to Venezuelan airlines for the next three months. Panama took the measure in retaliation for the Maduro regime’s sanctions against Panama, which came into effect last Friday and forced Copa Airlines out of the country.

Today’s announcement is the latest in an escalation sanction face-off that began on March 30, when the Panamanian government made public a list of 55 Maduro regime officials and 16 Venezuelan companies it suspects of engaging in illegal activities like money laundering. The list carried a warning to the country’s financial institutions to exercise extra caution when dealing with the named Venezuelan entities.

Speaking during a regime election event in Aragua state today, El Aissami said:

President Maduro has also ordered the [sanctioning] of new Panamanian companies in order to protect our economic and financial system from Panamanian mafias.

At the same time, El Aissami said that Maduro had also ordered the freezing of assets of “all of the companies linked with the mafia represented by the government” of Panama. El Aissami did not name the companies affected by the new sanctions.

It is not clear from El Aissami’s comments what qualifies as a “Panamanian mafia”, or how sanctioning a commercial airliner like Copa Airlines results in the protection of the Venezuelan economy.

PSUV Officials: Venezuelans Will Flock Back After “Economic Victory”

Constituent Assembly deputy Francisco Torrealba predicted today that the millions of Venezuelans who have fled the country over the past two decades will soon flock back to the country, once the Maduro regime achieves what he called “economic victory”. Torrealba said that the influx of returning Venezuelans would come following Maduro’s presidential election victory on May 20.

Torrealba said:

I’m sure that they will come back once we achieve the economic victory after May 20. All of them will come back. No one leaves their country except for economic reasons. We know that they will return to the country….

Maduro has promised that he will mend Venezuela’s economy if he is elected to a second presidential term on May 20. In typical fashion, Maduro has not provided concrete details on how he plans to achieve this.

While exact migration figures are not known, it is commonly accepted that as many as 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country over the past 20 years.

National Assembly: 2018 Inflation Rate Hits 8,878.1%

The National Assembly announced today that the annualized inflation ration in February 2018 hit 8,781.%. The announcement came from the president of the Finance Commission at the National Assembly, deputy Jose Guerra, who also revealed that the December 2017-March 2018 inflation rate alone was 453.7%.

Guerra warned that the inflation rate by the end of 2018 could hit 10,000% if the Maduro regime continues to finance itself by printing money.

Historically, the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) has provided economic information like the inflation rate on a regular basis. However, under PSUV leadership, the BCV has not published inflation data since 2015, leaving the task to the National Assembly and private sector observers.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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