Maduro continued pitching his presidency today at a a campaign rally in Trujillo state, promising to solve the country’s severe economic crisis only if he is elected to serve another term in the May 20 election.
Speaking at an event in the Valera municipality, Maduro swore to his supporters that he would not rest until he solved “all of the problems” affecting Venezuela. He said:
Beneath this warm sun, Trujillo, I swear to you… that I will dedicate all of my soul, all of my being, to solving all of the problems that the economic war [has brought] upon the people, [and] to combat the street vendor mafias. I swear to you that once you elect me president of the Republic… I will dedicate my whole being to protect the people of Venezuela.
Aside from being ambitious, Maduro’s promise is predicated on two assertions that his regime has made over the years. The first is that the country’s economic problems are the result of an “economic war” that is being waged against Venezuela for the purposes of removing him from power. The “economic war” theory maintains that a shadowy cabal of foreign and domestic enemies form part of the conspiracy, including the governments of the Untied States, Colombia, Spain, media outlets, financial institutions, NGOs, and even Venezuelan diaspora members. The second is that street vendors play a key role in the “economic war” by selling scarce regulated products at a markup.
While admitting that the country had “many problems”, Maduro said that he alone was able to solve them. He then proceeded to launch vitriolic insults at a number of opposition figures, including National Assembly deputy Julio Borges, whom Maduro called “a traitor” “garbage”. Maduro also called former Caracas mayor and exiled opposition figure Antonio Ledezma “a garbage vampire”.
Maduro continued by exalting his virtues, saying that he had learned from Chavez “discipline, honesty, diligence”, and “permanent commitment” to Venezuela. Maduro also added:
I won’t fail you, people of Venezuela. Trust me. Give me your life. Give me your life. Give me your prayers.
So far, Maduro appears oblivious to the position which he occupies both as president and as candidate, which has the effect of making his presidential campaign promise to solve the very same issues that his presidency has caused.
IMF Estimates 15% Reduction in 2018
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced today that it is expecting Venezuela’s economy to shrink by 15% this year, continuing a longstanding trend of economic anemia. This year’s contraction would be added to the 35% collapse accumulated between 2014 and 2017.
At the same time, the IMF said that it expects the economy of the Latin American region to increase on average by 2% this year, and 2.8% in 2018. Venezuela is the only country in Latin America whose economy is expected to shrink this year.
The IMF report states:
The economic situation in Venezuela is getting worse, and the economy is shrinking drastically for the fifth consecutive year (…) the humanitarian crisis is also getting worse, with increasing shortages of basic necessities (like food, personal hygiene products, [and] medicine), [as well as] a collapse of the healthcare sector and elevated indices of crime. This has caused a notable increase in migration to neighbouring countries.
237,000 Venezuelans Have Arrived In Peru in Six Months
Eduardo Sevilla, Peru’s National Superintendent of Migration, said today that 237,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Peru in the last six months, and that another 43,000 are in the country on temporary visitor visas.
Sevilla said that since the start of the month, Peruvian authorities have tallied and average of 2,200-2,300 entries into the country by Venezuelans through the border crossing at Tumbes, which connects the country to Ecuador
Sevilla was also quick to point out that the matter of the Venezuelan exodus is “a regional issue”, and that Colombia, Argentina and Chile have also seen increased numbers of Venezuelan migrants over the last several months.
Two days ago, a Red Cross representative said that approximately 1,000,000 Venezuelans have entered Colombia since the middle of last year, in an exodus that she characterized as “a constant flow”.
Man Shoots Dog During Protest
A video surfaced on social media this afternoon showing a man shooting a dog during a protest in the La Guairita area of Caracas this afternoon.
In the video, a man on a motorcycle appears to be engaged in a confrontation with a small group of protesters. As the man yells at the protesters–who are standing around what appears to be a makeshift barricade–a dog approaches him. The man draws a pistol, and shoots the dog.
As the man attempts to drive away, the dog’s cries can be heard in the background.
Below, the video:
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