Economic controls in Venezuela are only getting deeper — and the latest measure, as announced by President Nicolas Maduro, is the regulation of car prices in the country.
Although we are still to learn what that will entail precisely, the measure stems from special powers that were granted to him by the Asamblea Nacional, to “protect the middle class.” They allow him to govern by decree in all economic and anti-corruption issues.
So far, the measures implemented by the Venezuelan president include: military control of stores (mainly textiles and home appliances); forced price reductions prior to the December elections; the centralization foreign exchange management (for imports, exports, and foreign investment) with regulatory organizations such as the Foreign Trade Center and the Venezuelan Corporation of Foreign Trade; and price ceilings for commercial leases (set at approximately US$40 per square meter).
Now add automobile price controls to the list.
In his speech, the president said that, certainly, “Fedecámaras and the Mesa de la Unidad organizations [the opposition coalition] will come out to criticize the decree.” The president had already denounced Fedecámaras and its owner, Jorge Roig, last Friday during a message on national television.
The measure mandating lower prices came after allegations made by some party representatives who complained about them rising. They will seek, among other things, to confront “high levels of speculation, hoarding and usury.” The new measures are inserted in a context of general inflation (officially at 54 percent annually) and a strong parallel dollar market which continues to expand.