On Sunday, Maduro reported that as of May 1, the minimum wage increases by 60% and workers will receive at least 200,000 bolivars per month, including food subsidies. Officially, this sum amounts to about 280 USD, but on the black market it is less than 50 USD. Maduro reminded that this is the third increase for this year and the 15th in last four years. But three-digit inflation in Venezuela (720% in 2016, according to the IMF) is eating up workers’ savings.
Moreover, the government gave hundreds of new apartments to their occupants, trying to increase the confidence in the population and stop the anti-government protests in the highly indebted country.
Meanwhile, nearly 30 people have fallen victim to violent protests by requesting Maduro’s withdraw from leadership of the country. The critics of the president say he is pushing the democratic norms and Maduro accuses his opponents of conspiring to overthrow him.
But the supermarkets in Venezuela are empty, the bakeries do not have enough flour for bread, and drinking water costs more than gasoline, which uses the huge subsidies and is the cheapest in the world.
Eight Latin American countries have backed a joint statement yesterday with Pope Francis’ suggestion for a new Vatican mediation mission to exit the Venezuelan crisis. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay joined the pope’s statement for possible dialogue between the government of President Nicholas Maduro and the opposition under very clear conditions to negotiate a solution to the political, economic and humanitarian crisis that Venezuela is experiencing.
Yesterday Maduro accused the opposition of refusing to engage in dialogue, while welcoming the pope’s offer.
On International Labor Day, the opponents of the president called for new protests in the center of Caracas and across the country.