Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced a slew of policy reforms aimed at combating speculation and hoarding. New government institutions are also being created to regulate trade and oversee foreign currency exchange. “We have to make real decisions for the benefit of the economy and society, whatever the cost and whatever happens,” Maduro said on November 6. Describing the package of reforms as an “economic offensive”, Maduro pledged to “strike hard” at speculators and hoarders.
Venezuela's finance minister, Nelson Merentes, presented a draft 2014 budget to the National Assembly on October 22 that devotes more revenue to social services, while predicting continued economic growth and lower inflation. About 62% of the 551 billion bolivars budget (about $92 billion) would be devoted to social services, compared with 37.7% this year.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has launched the second phase of his Street Government initiative, with the aim of inaugurating new projects and strengthening community organisation. The Street Government is a governance mechanism implemented by Maduro this year which involves the national executive visiting Venezuela’s regions and holding meetings with different neighbourhoods and social groups. These meetings allow the government to orientate its regional development strategies and launch new projects with the support and involvement of communities.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of a top US diplomat and two other embassy officials from Venezuela for alleged conspiracy with the opposition. “Get out of Venezuela,” said Maduro during a televised political event. “Yankee go home. Enough of abuses against the dignity of a homeland that wants peace.” The US officials named were charge d'affaires Kelly Keiderling, and two other embassy employees, Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt. They were given 48 hours to leave the country.
In a national census held over September 7 and 8, 1150 communes registered in a national census, exceeding expectations. The communes are forms of “popular power” in Venezuela that unite representatives of local communal councils across a regional area. Community councils in Venezuela are grassroots bodies where local residents manage public funds and undertake projects promoting community development. Communes, meanwhile, are formed by groups of community councils, and can take on larger scale projects and public works.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on August 15 for his government to give greater support to the construction of communes in the country. He proposed several initiatives by which this could be done. Communes have their origin in Venezuela's communal councils, which are grassroots bodies made up of members of the local community. These self-managed bodies receive public funds to undertake community projects and small-scale public works.
Founder of Venezuela’s world famous El Sistema music program, Jose Abreu, met with President Nicolas Maduro on May 22 to discuss expanding the program. They agreed on a project called Musical Program Simon Bolivar, which aims to have 1 million Venezuelan youths and children playing musical instruments.
Venezuela's new Labour Law for Workers came into effect on May 7, guaranteeing shorter working hours, longer maternity leave and pensions for all Venezuelans. Described by the Venezuelan government as the “most advanced labour law in the world”, the law reduces the working week from 44 hours to 40, and requires that employers provide two consecutive days a week off. When the law came into effect, labour minister Maria Iglesias said the new working hours are part of the process towards a “just distribution of wealth”.
It would be hard to find somewhere that celebrates May Day more enthusiastically than Venezuela. But this year celebrations were marred by claims made in a document that could easily be mistaken for a lift-out from a UFO enthusiasts' magazine.
As the Venezuelan opposition is emboldened by chaos on the streets, reactionary propaganda on the private airwaves that still dominate Venezuela's media landscape and firm support from Washington, now is the time for the international left to galvanise support for the Bolivarian revolution. Under the false pretext of electoral fraud, the right-wing opposition leader Henrique Capriles tried for a power grab after losing presidential elections on April 14, threatening to destabilise the country.
The room erupted into cheers when the election results were announced. For hours, the city of Merida's most ardent supporters of socialist presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro had gathered in the local offices of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). However, after a few moments, the closeness of the numbers sank in. At the time of writing, the National Electoral Council (CNE) had announced that with 99% of votes counted, the PSUV's Maduro won with 50.6%. His closest rival, Henrique Capriles, received 49.1%; giving Maduro a slim 1.5% victory.
In the week leading up to Venezuela’s April 14 presidential elections, whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks published a classified cable indicating that US-based aid organisations were working to overthrow the government and defend US corporate interests in the Andean country.
The results of Venezuela's presidential elections in a few weeks may well predictable, with polls showing socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro well ahead of his right-wing opponent. But we are going through a fragile, vulnerable period, with a future that is less predictable. These elections, as the start of the era of the Bolivarian revolution without its historic leader Hugo Chavez, have special characteristics and factors that go beyond the vote. Unity and leadership
When Venezuelans return to the polls in new presidential elections on April 14, analysts are predicting a decisive win for Nicolas Maduro, the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). In December, the late president Hugo Chavez urged his supporters to back Maduro as PSUV candidate should Chavez’s worsening health prevent him from fulfilling his presidential term. Under the Venezuelan constitution, new elections must be held within 30 days of the resignation or death of the president.
Venezuela Analysis journalist Tamara Pearson's passionate and insightful report on the feeling among the Venezuelan people after the passing of President Hugo Chavez, the response of the opposition, the people's determination to continue their revolution, and the importance of international solidarity. Film by Green Left TV.
At about 5.30pm on March 5, life in Venezuela came to a sudden halt. In a speech broadcast live, Vice President Nicholas Maduro publicly announced that President Hugo Chavez had lost his two year battle with cancer. Maduro stated that at 4.25pm, Chavez was pronounced dead after the emergence of a severe respiratory infection the previous day. After urging for calm, the Maduro announced a number of security measures, including the deployment of the Bolivarian National Guard and police to maintain order.