Jose Vicente Rangel, a television and political personality who hosts a Sunday television interview show on the Televen network, presented the results of a survey this afternoon that shows a near universal rejection of expropriation as a government policy.
According to the poll, which was conducted by the Hinterlaces firm, 97% of Venezuelans do not believe that government expropriation of private businesses will help solve the country’s economic crisis. The same poll found that a clear majority of Venezuelans–66%–believe that the government should return the companies that it has expropriated to its owners.
The survey stands in sharp contrast to the well-established policy of expropriation, which the Chavez and Maduro governments use often to take over private businesses. While justifications for expropriations vary, they tend to follow the argument that private businesses care only about profit, and that the same businesses will be more efficient and productive in regime hands.
Expropriations are one of the main reasons for the catastrophic collapse of the Venezuelan economy over the past several years.
According to the Centro de Divulgación del Conocimiento Económico (Centre for the Divulging of Economic Knowledge) (CEDICE), the Venezuelan government expropriated 1,167 companies between 2005 and 2011 alone.
Interior Minister Claims 27% Reduction in Crime
Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Nestor Reverol has claimed that the crime rate in Venezuela for the first six months of 2018 is 27% lower than it was during the same period last year.
When broken down by type of crime, Reverol claimed that homicides are down 26%, and kidnapping 54%.
At the same time, Reverol appeared to blame the Maduro regime’s enemies for the violence that is still taking place in Venezuela. Reverol said:
There’s a political violence. We have criminal violence, psychological [violence], but there is also media violence.
It’s not clear what Reverol meant by his comment.
Saudi Arabia Less Enthusiastic than Trump About Phone Call
Yesterday, United States president Donald Trump tweeted that he had spoken to Saudi Arabian King Salman about global oil prices, and–citing the “turmoil & dysfunction” in Venezuela–said that he had asked the king to increase their oil production by as many as 2 million barrels per day. The tweet raised the eyebrows of observers, since it appeared to suggest that Trump was dictating oil production policy to Saudi Arabia.
Shortly after the tweet was published, the Saudi Press Agency said that the call had taken place, but did not provide any details on what the two leaders discussed.
Yesterday evening, the White House issued a statement walking back from Trump’s tweet, saying that Trump and the Saudi King had in fact discussed oil police, and that King Salman had only mentioned that Saudi Arabia had “2 million barrels a day of spare production capacity”.
Jorge Rodriguez Caught In $795 US Shoes
Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez has been taking heat on social media this weekend after he was photographed what appear to be $795 US running shoes.
Aporrea, a leftist website that was until relatively recently supportive of the Maduro regime, posted an image on Saturday that shows Rodriguez sitting down alongside other PSUV figures like Hector Rodriguez and Maduro himself.
The image can be seen below. Rodriguez is the man sitting on the left:
Astute social media users noticed Rodriguez’s shoes with interest, and identified them as a pair of Valentino Garavani Camouflage Rockrunner Sneakers, which retail for $795 US, or $1,000 Canadian.
A Venezuelan worker earning the minimum monthly salary takes home Bs. 5,196,000. At the current black market rate (Bs. 3,405,751.03/$US), $795 US is Bs. 2,707,572,068.85. In other words, the average Venezuelan worker would have to save all of their salary for approximately 521 months, or 43 years, to be able to afford Jorge Rodriguez’s shoes.
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