Don’t blame me for Venezuela crisis, says Maduro

admin   •   May 25, 2018   •   3504

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a special session of the National Constituent Assembly to take oath as re-elected President at the Palacio Federal Legislativo in Caracas, Venezuela May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello


Newly re-elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday (May 24) that blaming him for Venezuela’s economic meltdown was a “stupid simplification,” but pledged to boost oil production and open dialogue with business leaders.

But with no specifics and some of the promises repetitions of previous vows, few expect that Maduro will make significant changes to the crumbling state-led economic model inherited from his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.

Maduro won a Sunday election that critics at home and abroad condemned as a farce cementing his autocracy, at a time when the oil-rich nation is suffering from increasingly dire food shortages, health crises, and mass emigration.

Presenting his credentials at the pro-government Constituent Assembly on Thursday, Maduro dismissed criticism of his legitimacy as a U.S. plan to sabotage him and said opponents were wrong to blame him for Venezuela’s crisis.

“It’s a stupid simplification to think that this problem is due to Nicolas Maduro. It’s a problem of the entire country,” he said in a speech, wearing a sash in the yellow, blue and red colors of the Venezuelan flag.

Maduro, a former bus driver, and union leader, also cautioned he alone would not be able to turn around the economy.

Maduro promised to increase Venezuela’s oil production, currently at over 30-year lows, by one million barrels-per-day this year, but gave no details. He said he had instructed Major General Manuel Quevedo, the oil minister and president of state oil company PDVSA, to reach out to OPEC, allies China and Russia, and Arab nations for help if needed.

Maduro’s opponents say he is a reckless autocrat who has no real plan to revive Venezuela’s shambolic economy, raising the risks of more malnutrition and a full-blown refugee crisis. — Reuters

Inflation rate peaks at 3.5% in December 2020 due to high food prices

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The inflation rate in December 2020 peaked at 3.5% due to the high prices of pork, vegetables, and other food products.

This is higher compared to the 3.3% inflation rate recorded in November and the highest inflation rate recorded in the country since March 2019.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Usec. Dr. Dennis Mapa said aside from the food products, an increase in the transportation fares and alcoholic beverages also contributed to the December 2020 rate.

“This would be attributed to the demand dahil ginagamit talaga sa pagluluto (it is used for cooking) and, of course, the celebration particularly last Christmas and the New Year pushed the demand to increase and also we have concerns related to the supply,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PSA expects lower prices of goods this January. -AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

PH climbs to 50th spot among 131 economies in Global Innovation Index 2020

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2020

The Philippines has climbed up the rankings of the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020, moving up to the 50th spot out of 131 countries.

Rising four notches from its 54th rank in 2019, the Philippines’ standing has been improving for two consecutive years. The Global Innovation Index ranks the innovation capabilities of countries across the globe.

According to the GII 2020 report, the Philippines stood out in the areas of innovation in the business sector as well as the innovative outcomes produced by its investments.

“The report disclosed that the country performed beyond expectation as it grabbed rank 6th in Productivity growth, rank 7th in Firms offering formal training, and rank 8th globally in the area of Utility models by origin,” the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said in a statement.

Along with India, Vietnam, and China, the Philippines has made the most significant progress in the global ranking. -AAC

Venezuela’s Maduro orders EU envoy to leave the country

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday (June 29) ordered the European Union envoy to leave the country, hours after the EU announced sanctions against several officials loyal to the socialist leader.

The EU subjected 11 officials to financial sanctions, citing their actions against the democratic functioning of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

The European bloc earlier this month said a decision by the South American nation’s Supreme Court in May to ratify an ally of Maduro as president of the National Assembly was illegitimate. Opposition leader Juan Guaido was the rightful congressional president following his election by the majority of members in January, not the court-approved Luis Parra, the EU said.

Parra was among those named in Monday’s sanctions, along with Franklyn Duarte and Jose Gregorio Noriega, who were named as vice-presidents of the assembly in the May court ruling.

Maduro gave the EU envoy, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, 72 hours to leave the country after the sanctions were announced.

“A plane can be loaned to her to leave,” he said during an appearance on Venezuelan state TV.

Maduro also said his government was reserving diplomatic action in the case against the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, Jesus Silva, whom he said was “an accomplice of the criminal and terrorist Leopoldo Lopez, as published in the Wall Street Journal, for the plan to assassinate me, to assassinate the country’s top military and political leader.”

Last week, the U.S. newspaper published a report citing sources close to the opposition leader Lopez, indicating that he had come into contact with several security firms for an armed action in Venezuela. (Reuters)

(Production: Efrain Otero, Liamar Ramos)


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