LATIN AMERICA

Maduro declares Economic State of Emergency in Venezuela

The measure, which will last for 60 days, involves a restriction of constitutional guarantees

The Venezuelan government has declared an Economic State of Emergency for a 60-day period, according to the official state bulletin, which was published on Friday. The measure, which has been approved by President Nicolás Maduro, is aimed at “protecting the social rights of education, health, housing and sport for all Venezuelans.

According to a 2001 law, such states of emergency are exceptional measures that “can only be declared in serious situations whereby the ordinary means at the disposal of the state are insufficient to deal with them.”

The measure came several hours before Maduro was due to speak in front of the National Assembly

This insufficiency, the law continues, is dealt with by “increasing the faculties of the National Executive, with the temporary restriction of permitted constitutional guarantees and the execution, monitoring, supervision and inspection of the measures that are adopted according to the law.”

The publication came several hours before Maduro was due to speak for the first time in front of the National Assembly, which is now controlled by parties opposed to the president’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Government sources announced that before Maduro addresses the Assembly, the new economy minister, Luis Salas, will explain the measures that will be put into place during these two months of economic emergency.

The current situation in Venezuela – with reported inflation as high as 200% and shortages of basic goods – is getting more and more severe. Since the elections on December 6, at which Deputies from the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) – the coalition that unites all opposition parties – took 112 seats in parliament, compared to the 55 seats of the PSUV and its allies, Maduro had been warning that he would consider declaring an Economic State of Emergency. The position of the opposition on the measures, however, has yet to be seen. If they were to oppose the move, they have the option of appealing with the Supreme Court of Justice.

English version by Simon Hunter.