Published on 9 December 2014 by TeleSUR English

The presidential council will advance participatory democracy for people with disabilitiesVenezuela has approved the creation of a new national council for people with disabilities in an attempt to eliminate the stigma around such communities, announced President Nicolas Maduro in a national address late Monday. 

The Presidential Council for People with Disabilities was created to strengthen the participation of disabled persons in state and societal affairs, as well as increase awareness and eliminate discrimination towards disabled individuals across the country. 

In the past months, Venezuela has tried to address the needs of the country's large disabled community.

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Published on 3 November by

Maduro meets with Uruguays Pepe MujicaIn an announcement made on 28 November , Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro pledged to slash spending in certain areas, such as senior government officials’ salaries, while swearing “we will never cut one bolivar of what we spend on education, food, housing... on our people.”

On 2 December the South American leader authorized a 20% cut in what he denominated “discretionary and luxury spending” in order to “maximize resources” in the face of the tumbling price of oil, which has already seen a 30% decrease in Venezuela’s hard cash income.

To determine what expenses are superfluous, Maduro has assembled a committee for efficient spending.

The president urged Venezuelans to see the measure as a tool for “deepening our strategic methods of savings and the optimization of resources… we must take advantage of this crisis.”

Maduro also mentioned plans to modify the Sicad II currency exchange system, in the hopes to create a “true, new alternative” for citizens to access dollars at a preferential rate by minimizing the amount of paperwork required to participate.

“We’re going to be delivering a blow to the parallel dollar,” Maduro warned.

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Abridged from two articles published on 19 and 20 November by

Maduro passes a wave of new lawsOn 18 November,  Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro passed 28 laws by means of the enabling law, which permits executive action without parliamentary approval. The bills, 16 of which were revealed in Tuesday’s promulgation ceremony, make up a comprehensive economic reform directed at industry, agriculture, tourism and tax revenue.

During the live broadcast from the Miraflores presidential palace, President Maduro called the new measures “enabling laws to diversify the economy, to guarantee its growth, and to gain stability in the face of an economic war.”

In recent months, Maduro has gone after buhoneros, or those who buy regulated goods in bulk to re-sell for a profit on the street, and contrabandistas; those who smuggle food and gasoline across land and sea borders. An estimated 40 percent of subsidized goods are removed from Venezuela through the latter method, making it one of the main drivers of scarcity.

However, with these latest statutes, the Venezuelan president is poised to be threaten the stronghold of those elite families and powerful companies who he believes have waged “economic war” on the government, by manipulating the economy to their political and financial gain.

The Anti-Monopoly Law was presented yesterday as a means to “create mechanisms to regulate those positions of power in the market which exercise control over the greater economy.”

Additionally, Venezuela’s upper class will be hardest hit by a series of tax reforms. On top of the pre-existing 12 percent consumer tax (IVA), one law introduces a 15 percent additional tax on “luxury items.”

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Published on 11 November 2014 by TeleSUR - Venezuela analysis

A Palestinian woman is greeted by a crowd upon her arrival in Venezuela AVNLast week, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced the beginning of the Yasser Arafat Scholarship Programme, which aims to train 1000 Palestinians in various fields.

The first delegation of 119 students arrived in Venezuela on Thursday to begin their studies in medicine at the Dr. Salvador Allende Latin American Medical School.

“We will train at least 1,000 Palestinian students,” Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced after the delegation arrived in Caracas. “I just ordered the Ministry of Education to expand the program not just in medicine, we also will enable them to study engineering, architecture and every field of knowledge.”

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Published on 4 November 2014 by Venezuela Analysis

Workers and PSUV members celebrate creation of Workers BankOn Monday, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced his approval of a workers’ proposal to increase the minimum wage by 15% starting December 1st. 

The new wage will be 4,889 bolivars per month (US$776 at the official exchange rate of 6.3)

This marks the third hike in salaries approved in 2014, making the current minimum wage 64.5% higher than at the start of the year. However, this latest announcement brings workers’ salaries just above the rate of inflation, which reached 63.4% during that same period.

An additional adjustment to the denominator used to calculate food tickets, which are mandatorily issued by employers and used like cash at most major supermarkets, increases workers’ access to items hardest hit by inflation. 

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Published on 29 October 2014 by Venezuela Analysis
Rajoy meets with Lilian Tintori wife of Leopoldo LopezOn Tuesday the Venezuelan Foreign Office announced the government’s decision to recall their ambassador to Spain, Mario Isea Bohórquez, for consultations. A hardline opposition leader, currently imprisoned and facing charges of inciting violence, refused to attend his own trial yesterday in in an attempt to pressure the government to respond to a United Nations request for his immediate release.
As part of the process of reviewing, in full, the diplomatic relations with Spain, and as consequence of the interventionist declarations of Spain's head of government Mariano Rajoy, [the Venezuelan government] has decided to call back for consultations Venezuela's ambassador in Spain,” stated the communique from Venezuelan authorities yesterday.
The decision comes after Rajoy posted his concern on Facebook that Venezuela was not respecting its citizens’ right to protest, after Lopez’s wife Lilian Tintori met with the Spanish president in Genova, Italy last Wednesday.
In the statement, the Venezuelan government noted that Rajoy's party, the conservative Popular Party (PP), also supported the attempted military coup against then Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2002, when PP's José María Aznar was president of Spain.

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Published on 16 October 2014 by Venezuela Analysis

Evidence suggests Colombian Paramilitaries were involved in the assassination of Robert SerraAll eight men who participated in the murder of pro-government lawmaker Robert Serra have been identified, said Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in a press conference.

“This assassination was being prepared for over three months. It was directed by a Colombian whose legal identity we have not yet revealed. A Colombian paramilitary meticulously directed the whole preparation process of the crime. He used a gang directed by another thuggish murderer, Padilla Leyva, alias “Colombia,” Maduro told local and international media.

The Venezuelan president showed cctv footage of how six men entered Robert Serra’s house on Wednesday 1 October, saying that in five to six minutes both Serra and his assistant Maria Herrera were stabbed to death. Two other men waited outside with getaway vehicles.

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Published on 22 October 2014 by Telesur English

Venezuelan government presents 2015 budgetVenezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, reiterated that the government´s priority would be to safeguard the social rights of the people.

The Venezuelan government has released its preliminary budget for 2015, pledging to increase social spending in the coming year despite a drop in oil prices. 

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, said he held the U.S. government responsible for the fall in the value of oil, stating that the Obama administration had irresponsibly flooded the global market. He said the country was being subjected to an economic blockade by North American imperialism and international capitalism. 

The new budget will require governors of the country´s 23 states to dedicate 60 percent of the resources distributed to them by the central government to public services, as well as to invest 30 percent in projects which produce goods and services for the benefit of Venezuelan society. The move is designed to increase employment and boost national production in a bid to minimise the country´s reliance on imports. 

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Published on 16 October 2014 by

UN security council positionsVenezuela today gained a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

“Victory for the nation in the UN, I say thank you in the name of our people to the 181 countries that supported us for the Security Council,” tweeted Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

New Zealand, Angola and Malaysia were also elected to non permanent seats. Turkey and Spain failed to garner enough support for their bids in the first ballot. The term lasts for two years from 1 January 2015.

Venezuela was unopposed for the place on the council allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean, however several leading U.S. media outlets had lobbied against Nicolas Maduro’s leftwing administration gaining the seat.

The five permanent members of the Security Council are the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China, while other countries are elected to the ten non permanent seats on a rolling basis of five per year.

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