International and local private media have accused the Venezuelan government of infringing “freedom of expression and information” by restricting newspapers’ access to official exchange rate dollars, and therefore their ability to import paper. The government however says the dollars have been supplied, and blames speculating paper import companies.
From today, Venezuelan citizens and residents who have legally acquired dollars will be able to open foreign currency accounts in public Venezuelan banks. They will also be able to use those accounts to purchase cars overseas, following a decree that President Nicolas Maduro signed yesterday.
As the Venezuelan government continues to crack down on hoarding and speculation, this week a small protest against consumerism took place in Merida. In many parts of the country there have been large lines outside stores forced to lower prices and supermarkets where scarce goods appear, while nationwide the consumer protection body Indepabis is regularly inspecting businesses for price infractions.
These last two weeks have attested to a process of assuming positions in economic policy. The decisions that the government is taking on economic questions are the result of a calculation in the scenario of political and social confrontation.
Over 4,000 companies have registered their pricing structures with the Venezuelan government’s Automated Price System (Sisap) as part of the latest phase in the new Law of Fair Costs and Prices. The law allows the Venezuelan state to set prices across a range of economic sectors in a bid to ensure access to goods and services for the Venezuelan people and to combat hoarding and price speculation by private companies.