Sunday, March 22, 2009

Venezuela in Crisis

Venezuelan central gov't takes full control of air, maritime ports

Xinhua — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Saturday that the central government has taken over all the country's maritime ports and airports from local governments.
The takeover, which Chavez said was aimed at coordinating national efforts in socialist construction, was based on the revised Organic Law of Decentralization, Delimitation and Competence Transfer of the Public Power, whose amendment was approved on March 12.
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Chávez Trims Budget to Offset Low Oil Revenues

New York Times — President Hugo Chávez announced a series of economic measures Saturday night, including a reduction in this year’s federal budget and a modest increase in the value-added tax, that are aimed at offsetting a recent plunge in the government’s oil revenues. Mr. Chávez said the changes were needed to shield Venezuela from the global financial crisis. Growth slowed in the most recent quarter to its most sluggish rate in five years.
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Venezuela Bolivar Drops to 16-Month Low on Devaluation Concern

Bloomberg — Venezuela’s bolivar sank to a 16- month low on speculation President Hugo Chavez will devalue the official exchange rate for the first time in four years to narrow a budget gap that swelled as oil prices declined.
The bolivar fell 1.9 percent to 6.43 per dollar in unregulated trading at 12:25 p.m. New York time, said Nelson Corrie, head trader at Interacciones Casa de Bolsa in Caracas. Chavez said yesterday that he’ll announce economic measures this weekend in response to the tumble in oil, the source of more than 90 percent of the South American country’s exports.
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