The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, promised to initiate an “inclusive productive national counteroffensive” to achieve the country’s recovery after “the brutal economic war” that for five years promoted the “extreme right” with the United States and its satellite governments.
“This 2021 we are going to start with great force a productive, inclusive and comprehensive national counteroffensive of all sectors of the economy, we will advance as a country in overcoming the consequences of all this criminal action,” Maduro said when presenting his annual message to the Parliament, which was once again controlled by Chavismo.
In his speech on Tuesday night, the president expressed his satisfaction for the majority return of his allies to the National Assembly and asked the Legislature to open channels of communication with the United States to request an investigation to determine the responsibility of the outgoing government of Donald Trump in a series of actions supposedly to destabilize his management in Caracas.
“Here we are again,” Maduro said, on his return to Parliament after a long absence. In the last four years, the president appeared before other instances under his control, the Supreme Court of Justice and the ruling Constituent Assembly.
The president stopped presenting the “memory and account” of his administration after the Supreme Court stripped the previous Legislative, with an overwhelming opposition majority, elected in 2015 of its powers.
Images of Simón Bolívar and Hugo Chávez, during the presentation of Nicolás Maduro before the Parliament of Venezuela, this Tuesday. Photo: Xinhua
After the controversial elections on December 6, not recognized by the opposition or much of the international community, Maduro’s supporters won 256 of the 277 seats, and took office last week.
Maduro affirmed that, during this year, “we must all be cohesive, united in a single goal: to recover the economy, wages, family income, the social welfare state and deepen the inclusive social model under the impulse of the Plan de la Patria and the legacy of Hugo Chávez “.
“The Bolivarian revolution has been able to face two great challenges last year, the criminal economic war and the Covid-19 pandemic, and that has been possible thanks to the social model built during these 21 years, which has been fiercely attacked,” he said.
Maduro defended the plans implemented during his government and affirmed that the social model must be “perfected and this has been the case with the creation of the Patria system, the Patria card and with the approved investment of 76.4% of the nation’s annual budget. for the entire social sector “.
According to him, one of “the main wounds” caused by the more than 400 coercive measures and the criminal blockade is the salary of the working class “with which neither the outdated left nor the Trumpist right can demagoguery.”
“Economic collapse” and dollarization
He also said that the de facto dollarization registered by trade “has been an escape valve for economic life at this stage” and that “it was the economic war and sanctions” that deteriorated the power of the local currency, the bolivar fuerte .
Supporters of Nicolás Maduro demonstrated in Caracas on Tuesday before the president’s presentation to Parliament. Photo: AFP
In this sense, he announced that this year, the population will pay “for public transport through a card so that they do not have problems with cash”, and that progress will be made in the digital economy, and “is being processed with the Superintendency of Banks opening dollar accounts legally for all merchants “
“77% of the economy is digital in bolivars and 20% in currency in cash,” he said.
During your intervention admitted that Venezuela is in economic collapse, product of the “criminal blockade”, and detailed that for 2020, foreign exchange earnings were 743 million dollars, and that 102.5 million dollars were lost due to the sanctions imposed on the state PDVSA
“The losses resulting from the sanctions are enormous. Just due to the drop in oil production, without considering the price war, there have been around 100 billion dollars since 2015,” he said.
However, he announced that they are promoting measures to raise crude production “to 1.5 million barrels a day in the coming months thanks to the Anti-Blockade Law.”
Maduro, proposed to go in a “great national operation” to recover the assets that are “confiscated abroad and rescue the gold from England, the more than 30 million dollars that are in bank accounts, Citgo, and many other things more than they belong to Venezuela “
During his intervention that lasted for almost 4 hours, the president praised his government for handling the Covid-19 pandemic, and said that it took measures that allowed one of the “lowest” official balances in the world, in terms of deceased by coronavirus, although the official figures are questioned by the opposition and by medical associations, which assure that the dead and infected are many more.
“Venezuela today is the one who has best combined prevention, with less than 120,000 cases and 1,073 deaths in more than 300 days,” he said.
By Milagros Rodríguez, ANSA agency