Right: we have a runaway parallel dollar and an "official" exchange rate constantly playing catch-up after a liberalization of exchange controls which in practice legalized the black market. Both are on their way towards 20.000 Bolivars per USD. One year ago the exchange rate was 60.
3. "Defending salaries: we're going to build new salary tables pegged to the Petro"
Hmmmm: the minimum wage today is around $2.50, heading for the lowest levels in history.
4. "Price stability: we're going to set the prices of basic staples, we'll go for Plan 50 [50 staples with fixed prices], and those prices will be obeyed."
Let's see: following these announcements we saw Economy Vice President Tareck El Aissami and an endless number of businessmen agreeing upon and signing off on "fixed prices" of eight personal hygiene and thirty food products, but these prices were never obeyed. I'll say it again: never.
5. "Increase production: raise production levels and creation of wealth in agriculture, oil, petrochemicals, gold, diamonds, coltan, copper, iron, aluminum, among others."
When it comes to campesinos, we have some comrades that have been struggling for a year to have promises made by Maduro on national TV (solving land disputes, combatting targeted killings, and support for production among others) fulfilled. Meanwhile, in the oil sector, OPEC monthly reports have shown little success, with production continually down.
6. "Foreign currency income: we will guarantee the necessary foreign currency to have stability in all of 2019."
The current picture: Venezuela's accumulated imports in the first half of the year were of just $2,986 million, an amount that shows a severe 58 percent contraction in comparison with the same period last year.
7. "Stability and expansion of the Petro [cryptocurrency]: I wish that in the short term Venezuelan citizens will have direct access to the Petro, to make international payments, to invest on a trip, a house, a car."
As of now, there is a party because some shady fancy stores are taking payments in Petros. Beyond that, most mortals are yet to grasp the exact status and purpose of this "cryptocurrency."
8. "Transportation policy: we won't go on allowing Colombian mafias to steal our gasoline. Not one more liter! We're going to do a transportation census through the Homeland Card, towards establishing international prices and direct gasoline subsidies."
The reality: the census was made and millions took part, while a biometric system was trialled in the main pumping stations across the country. But today those are fading memories and nobody knows how much to tip the pumping station workers, because in spite of a tremendous budget deficit, gasoline in Venezuela is free.
9. "The system to protect our people: strengthen, extend and regularize the CLAP [subsidized food boxes], incorporating hygiene supplies, strengthen social protection through the Homeland Card bonuses."
Well, in some states the CLAP box deliveries have become ever more irregular. The contents of the box have also decayed, and hygiene products never made it in. For their part, [government-assigned] bonuses suffered the same fate as salaries: they are completely pulverized by reality.
10. "Savings Plan: it's a special savings program tied to gold and the Petro, with savings plans for professionals and the middle class, for pensioners."
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