Maduro Fights Back: Massive crackdown on speculation and usury in Venezuela | Arturo Rosales

(Axis of Logic, 13 November 2013)





President Maduro and the Cabinet planning
the counterattack with economic reforms.

President Maduro launches surprise attack on “daylight robbery”

Ever hear of prices going down rather than up? We haven’t either. But this is happening now in Venezuela perhaps for the first time across the board in a modern-day economy.

This flash report from Venezuela will inform readers about the massive crackdown on usury and speculation by unscrupulous merchants that are the main cause of the high inflation rate in Venezuela. Inflation is running at 54% this year but almost all businesses have been enjoying anywhere between 200% to 2500% profit margin.

This makes it impossible for any government to keep inflation down as it is being used as a political tool to fleece the public, undermine the government, destroy its popularity and trigger a social explosion which could attract foreign intervention if it were to escalate into a civil war.

Hence this massive – and for many dishonest traders – frightening crackdown is suddenly upon them. There are not only fines and closures to face but jail sentences for the first time since this inflationary crisis broke one year ago.

The government teams of inspectors are backed up by the National Guard, the Bolivarian Militia as well as the Bolivarin Security Services if needed.

The skyrocketing prices of goods in Venezuela is the result of three things:

  1. The Washington’s quest to overthrow the government of Venezuela with prejudice.

  2. The inability of the opposition to win in a truly democratic election.
  3. The Strategic Plan Venezuela was prepared by operatives in Washington, Colombia and the Venezuelan opposition last June. In addition to calling for violence in the streets, the plan specifically outlined tactics to destroy the Venezuelan economy. The foundation for the current attack on the economy is the black-market dollar, an illegal currency exchange engineered to devalue the bolivar. The black market dollar stood at 12.6 bolivars to the dollar one year ago, on the day after former President Chavez was re-elected on October 7, 2012.

    After President Maduro defeated Caprilles Radonski on April 14, 2013 it shot up to 26 bolivars per dollar. Since then the opposition pulled out all the stops and drove the price of the dollar to 60 bolivars where it stands today. The opposition (who control most of the big retail stores) base their prices on the black-market dollar rather than the official rate of 6.3 per dollar. This puts many products out of reach for low income people, lessening their benefits in a socialist economy. This has also created and driven a false inflation that is not tied in any way to real inflation resulting from Venezuela’s successful GDP growth (5.8 percent in 2012). It is designed to destroy the Venezuelan economy and heralded by the capitalist media as evidence that “socialism doesn’t work.”

Here is a brief listing of some of the economic crimes being perpetrated against the vast majority of the population using price manipulations and usury in Venezuelan retail outlets and a chronology of what has happened in recent days in this great war on the nation’s economy, followed by some quotes from broadcasts made by President Maduro. Read on and be amazed.

  • A woman showing her receipts to a reporter as proof that she paid for her things after the private media accused her and many others of “looting.”

    Washing machines original price Bs. 8,000, suddenly repriced at Bs.25,000 at Daka- a major electrical appliance chain.

  • Officials cited one example of a washing machine which cost Bs. 4,200 to import at the official exchange rate being offered for sale at Bs. 47,000. The current monthly minimum wage is Bs. 4,137, including food tickets.

  • November 13th – Over 35,000 electrical appliances found hidden in warehouses in Caracas and Táchira states. More to come according to local intelligence reports.
  • November 12th – IMECA hardware stores buy local pine at Bs. 435 per cubic meter and then sell it to the public at Bs. 10, 500 per cubic meter.
  • November 12th – Dorsay department store in Caracas selling flannel pants at Bs. 1050 – overpriced by 114% as was the case with almost all clothing there.
  • November 12th – Duncan vehicle batteries import batteries from Mexico at US$36 = Bs. 227 then mark them as their own and sell them to the public at over Bs. 1800. Same batteries imported from Mexico are 435 amps and then re labeled as 700 amps defrauding the public. Duncan has been occupied by the authorities as a full audit is carried out and has agreed to reduce all prices immediately by 27%.
  • November 12th – El Pico hardware in eastern Caracas – selling rebar at a markup of 2375%! Managers arrested and waiting to be charged for usury.
  • November 12th – 70 tons of corn flour found hoarded in a warehouse in Portuguesa state.
  • November 12th – President Maduro announces a compensation fund for small businesses that are under financial pressure due to suppliers selling at speculative prices.
  • November 12th – Attorney General and the President of the Supreme Court announce 22 special courts to be set up to process criminals and speculators.
  • November 11th – 2500 businesses inspected – every single one was caught with inflated prices based on speculation.
  • November 11th – Man buys washer for Bs. 3900 reduced from Bs. 63,000 – interview on VTV. Manager of store is in jail.
  • November 11th – Laptop computers fell from Bs.17,000 to Bs.5,000.
  • November 11th – 40 inch flat screen TV’s reduced from Bs. 26,000 to Bs, 5350 at Daka in free port zone of Paraguana.
  • November 11th – Black market dollar fixed at Bs. 60.88 to the dollar, up from 12.6 one year earlier.
  • November 10th – All computer shops closed for inspection and adjusting prices. President Maduro wants them to open their doors by midday on the following day or face controlled sales by the authorities of all their stock. Government inspectors reduced 70,000 products to legal prices.
  • November 9th – Price for an artificial Christmas trees on sale at BECO department stores – Bs.8,999. Import price Bs 756 – profit 1189%.
  • November 8th – 6 Daka stores shut down. Managers detained in Sebin HQ. The owners have fled and arrest orders have been issued by the Attorney General. 1000% markups; TV Bs.16,000 import price Bs.4100.
  • November 8th – A washer-dryer was priced at Bs. 59,900 up from 29,000 on November 1st.
  • November 9th – Crate of Polar beer has risen from about Bs. 70 a year ago to around Bs. 225.
  • November 9th -A small hardware store owner we interviewed paid Bs. 15,000 for wholesale purchase of products for resale a month earlier and his price now for the identical shipment is Bs. 58,000. He is afraid to report it to the government for fear his supplier will cut him off and ruin his business.
  • Web sites based in Venezuela selling cars, houses and general goods called to testify before the National Assembly to explain their inflated prices found as authorities inspect stores across the country.
  • November 8th – Hair Salons closed in Caracas for tax irregularities.
  • November 8th – 90,000 kilos of powdered milk found hoarded in warehouse in Maracay. One man arrested.
  • Oct 31 – Director of FONTUR (National Tourism Fund) arrested for corruption. This man is only one of many within the ranks of the opposition and also within govenrment who have been arrested during the past 2-3 months for corruption, hoarding food and sabotage of the country’s infrastructure.
  • These are only a few of the thousands of incidents of corporate corruption and examples of President Maduro and his adminstration fighting back the international “rolling coup” set to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

While all this is happening and events remain very fluid, the private media is running scare stories that soon there will be no products left to buy. This will obviously encourage more people to stand in line to make their purchases at bargain prices, i.e. legal prices.


Lines at one of the Daka Stores after it was shut down for robbing
the people and reopened with all goods available at legal prices.

Lines are now diminishing in all cities across the country as people realize that products will not just “vanish” or be sold out. The private opposition media and some international corporate media have calling the thousands of people who were in queue to purchase goods at affordable prices, “looters.” But there has been only one confirmed “looting” – at a Daka store in Valencia where 6 people were caught on video and the authorities are looking for the perpetrators. The real thieves are the capitalist store owners and managers who have been looting the public.


President Maduro announcing … explaining the economic
reform package on national public television.

Here are some quotes from President Maduro about this extraordinary situation in Venezuela’s retail commerce:

Maduro explaining how merchants obtain dollars at BS. 6.3 per dollar through Cadivi, the government institution that issues US dollars for foreign imports and then base their retail prices for those goods on the black market dollar at BS. 50-60 per dollar raking in huge profits:


“If you give him a dollar at Bs. 6.30 as it might be the case that some businessmen then start to up prices by 1200%. In such cases there has to be a national reaction.”

Maduro on economic freedom and constitutional law:


“As here there are economic freedoms established in the Constitution, there should be for these transactions a rational profit margin that we must now set in the laws, but (the merchant) must comply by offering service and obeying legal edicts.”

He said that the National Government is in a,

“… historic battle to get looting against the population under control and the punish groups that have enriched themselves at the expense of public money, at the expense of the people that are attacked by the press and by politicians of the right.”

In various public appearances on television, national radio and in the street, the President spoke of the war on the Venezuelan economy, the government’s counter-attack and what it means for the people of Venezuela.


“[Products] are being overpriced by 200, 300, 400 percent, without any economic justification.”“Economic freedom means that I produce and sell with a minimal profit and I respect the consumer. Furthermore I receive the dollars that the state gives me, I import the product and I sell it at a fair price, and I don’t add an extra 1000% for grotesque profit.”

“For the period of November and December we will establish a special operation to protect and ensure fair prices for the population of items that we consider to be important.”

“Textiles, footwear, appliances, vehicles, and toys among others… and we will begin to apply [these measures] from today.”

“We are going to review the entire supply chain. We are going to check every inventory in the country,”

“Each person who was been robbed by paying those grotesque prices will get their money back because it belongs to the working person.”

“Here there will be minimum margins of profit, in everything. This is a prime factor. Second, also in the Enabling Law we are going to make the adjustments in the raising of standards and penalties to the maximum possible for any entrepreneur who receives $ of the Republic through the established system, in this case the Cadivi.”

“Standards and maximum penalties will be imposed if those dollars of the Republic are used to speculate against the local currency.” (Which he later explained meant prison sentences rather than mere confiscation of goods and properties for the people.)

Tomorrow, November 14th, President Maduro is expected to receive special powers via the Enabling Law which will allow him to legislate for one year to combat the economic problems and corruption.


Diosdado Cabello, President of the National Assembly (AN) with President Maduro announcing the call for the Enabling Law. The law must be passed by the AN and the Chavistas are shy by one vote for passing the measure. But it is hoped that at least one opposition member will cross over to give Maduro the power to respond even more forcefully against the war on the economy … the war on Venezuela.

If President Maduro is granted the Enabling Law, one of the most important measures he will take will be to limit each sector to MAXIMUM PROFIT MARGINS with jail time for those who try to mock the law.

Watch this space as there are sure to be more surprises as the Bolivarian government attacks capitalist and neoliberal economic practices on the road to a more humane, egalitarian and socialist society in the spirit of our two Liberators – Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez!

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