Venezuelans marked International Worker’s Day by staging protests throughout the country against the Maduro regime’s inability to manage the country’s economic collapse, which continues to manifest itself in chronic food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation.
In Caracas, Venezuelans congregated on the Francisco de Miranda avenue near the Centro Lido. Below, an image from the scene taken at 11:15 AM local time:
Below, a clip showing a group of protesters chanting “Where there’s hunger and misery, there’s no education”:
In Carabobo state, workers with the government’s Barrio Adentro healthcare program protested against the neglect they feel from the authorities. Pedro Gonzalez, a Barrio Adentro representative, said:
Today we can say that Barrio Adentro is practically on a work stoppage because whereas before we’d do 100 consultations, now we only do 10 due to a lack of [materials].
The Barrio Adentro initiative was one of the Chavez government’s early successes. The program aimed to bring healthcare and other medical resources to the poorest areas of Venezuela, which had been largely neglected by previous governments.
Maduro Wants 10 Million Votes To “Tear Apart” Mafia
Speaking at a campaign rally today in Caracas, Maduro asked supporters to turn out in record numbers to vote for him in the May 20 presidential election. During the address, Maduro said that if he won ten million votes, he would “tear apart” the “mafias” he claims are secretly running the country.
If you give me ten million votes (…) I promise you that sooner or later I will defeat all of the economic mafias no matter who they are, no matters where they are. I will go find them and tear them apart.
It is difficult to ascertain if Maduro was speaking in hyperbole, or if he really expects ten million Venezuelans to vote for him in the May 20 election.
At the height of his popularity–just months after Chavez hand-picked him as his successor–Maduro narrowly defeated the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, in the 2014 presidential election. Maduro won that election with 7,6 million votes.
During his address, Maduro provided few details about the “mafias” which he claims are ruining the country. He did say:
The mafias don’t respect price regulations, and we have to make them be respected on the streets and we need a victory on May 20 to put an end to all of the mafias (…) don’t abandon me (…) the first bit of help I need is ten million votes on May 20.
The Maduro regime maintains that all of the country’s ills, from chronic shortages of food and medicine to hyperinflation, are the result of an “economic war” it claims is being waged on the country by a shadowy group of foreign and domestic forces.
Bolivar Soberano Appears on Store Shelves
Starting today, all items for sale in Venezuela must list their price in Bolivar Soberanos (Bs. S.), the new currency system that is set to take over the Bolivar Fuerte (Bs. F.) on June 4.
Venezuelans who attempted to go shopping today found that the price of items in stores is now displayed in the two currencies. Because the Bolivar Soberano is not currently in circulation, all items must still be paid for in Bolivar Fuerte.
The image below, taken today somewhere in the country, shows the price for beef rump listed in both Bs. and Bs. S:
Back on March 22, Maduro announced that the Bolivar Soberno would enter circulation with three fewer zeroes than the Bolivar Fuerte, a move which will radically shift the way that prices are expressed in Venezuela.
The Bolivar Soberano marks the second time in 10 years that the Venezuelan government has introduced a new currency by slashing three zeroes from the previous one.
In March 2007, Chavez announced that the Bolivar would be replaced by the Bolivar Fuerte starting on January 1. In effect since then, the Bolivar Fuerte is often expressed in the shorthand of its predecessor (Bs.) for the sake of simplicity.
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