Venezuelan streets quieter than usual after opposition strike call
The OPEC nation on Monday cut five zeros from prices in response to hyperinflation as part of a broad set of measures meant to address an economic crisis, including pegging the country’s currency to an obscure state-backed cryptocurrency.
Opposition critics slammed the plan as inadequate in the face of inflation that topped 82,000 percent in July and called for a one-day halt of commercial activities.
“Don’t got to work, you have the right to protest, because what’s at stake is your life, your future, and your country. Rebel!” opposition party Popular Will wrote via its Twitter account.
Maduro declared Monday a national holiday for banks and consumers to get accustomed to the new pricing scheme, under which items that cost 1,000,000 bolivars last week were remarked with price tags of 10 bolivars.
Fedecamaras, the country’s main business group, slammed the proposal as “incoherent,” noting that the plan’s 3,000 percent minimum wage increase would make it impossible for businesses to keep their doors open.
But the group did not take a position on the opposition-led strike, saying individual members should choose on their own.
The Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The collapse of the country’s once-booming economy has fueled hunger and disease, spurring an exodus of migrants to nearby countries.
In recent days, Ecuador and Peru tightened visa requirements for Venezuelans and violence drove hundreds of Venezuelan migrants back across the border with Brazil.
Two high-ranking military officers were arrested this month for alleged involvement in drone explosions during a speech by Maduro, who called it an assassination attempt.
Maduro says his government is the victim of an “economic war” led by the opposition with the help of Washington, which last year levied several rounds of sanctions against his government and high-ranking officials.