Venezuela extends economic emergency decree

Caracas, May 17 (IANS) Venezuela has implemented fresh extension of the State of Economic Emergency Decree, announced by President Nicolas Maduro, with new authorisations to tackle domestic and foreign forces’ attempt to overthrow the government.

A new presidential decree announced on Monday aimed at protecting socio-economic rights and outlining actions to defend territorial sovereignty, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new legal instrument, to last for 60 renewable days, extends the emergency decree signed for the first time on January 14 and renewed on March 14 for another 60 days.

The decree gives the Venezuelan government new authorisations to execute special security plans against possible “destabilising actions that intend to interrupt the country’s internal life” or its international relations.

Maduro described the new instrument as including measures to defend the country against new “foreign threats”.

He referred to statements made by Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe Velez who called from the US to “institutionally challenge” Venezuela’s army, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.

The decree authorises the government to apply “special measures in foreign policy that impedes foreign interference”.

Also it establishes the “urgent” acquisition of items through national and international negotiations as a bid to satisfy local demand for goods and services given the increased amount of shortages.

The decree also includes measures that solicit international aid to help restore the ecosystems affected by serious droughts or the “El Nino” weather phenomenon as well as rectify the faults in the country’s electricity service affected by low water levels.

The army, police and local committees for supply and production are all authorised to help with the distribution of goods, medicines, foods and other urgent products, thanks to the decree.

It will be submitted to the opposition-dominated National Assembly for approval within eight days.

Venezuela announced economic emergency amid plunging oil prices, soaring inflation and a severe shortage of products, and the measure was extended as the economic crisis facing the country showed no sign of improvement.

Venezuela’s national economy, heavily dependant on oil revenues, shrank seven percent in 2015 as a result of plunging oil prices, and the annual inflation rate was around 140 percent.

–IANS

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