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Venezuelan Troops Obligate Businesses to Offer “Discounts” of 80%

By: Orlando Avendaño - @OrlvndoA - Dec 22, 2016, 5:39 pm
The Venezuelan government has sent soldiers to businesses to demand that they lower prices during the Holiday season (
The Venezuelan government has sent soldiers to businesses to demand that they lower prices during the Holiday season (Fashion Network).

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The Venezuelan dictatorship seems to be looking for some quick and easy popularity points, at least in December. For several weeks it has used the National Superintendence for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights (SUNDDE) to mandate the price at which merchants must sell their products. These measures have been rejected by a large part of civil society.

This week, according to the newspaper El Sol de Margarita, SUNDDE appeared in Nueva Esparta state to regulate dozens of commercial establishments in one of the most important tourist destinations of Venezuela.

“Officials of the SUNDDE paid surprise visits to the business owners on Avenue May 4, Avenue Santiago de Mariño, as well as the principal thoroughfares and other areas of the commercial district of Porlamar, obligating to lower their prices between 20% and 80%; where they currently remain,” the paper said.

The agents of the Superintendency – also known by its colloquial name Fair Prices – were accompanied by the Venezuelan military to ensure the proper application of the measures: “Vice Admiral Alfredo Pulido Pinto, commander of the Integral Defense Zone of Nueva Esparta (Zodine), confirmed that military officers have joined the agents, who seek to facilitate access to goods in great demand during the Holiday season” says El Sol de Margarita.

The measure has been applied across the board: for example, EPK chain of shops, which specializes in children’s clothing, was forced to lower prices by up to 70%.

“We have ordered this company to implement an immediate price reduction in the 31 stores that they have in Venezuela; which will apply to all children’s clothing items that are available in their stores,” said SUNDDE director William Contreras.

The measure has led to hundreds of people lining up around the shops in the hopes of getting access to bargains.

Contreras took the decision after EPK allegedly raised prices despite the fact that on December 1 they were ordered “not modify prices until the end” of a government-run audit process that was taking place, in order to determine if their business practices and pricing were in line with current regulations.

According to the SUNDDE, the chain was flouting regulations and “making misleading offers.”

Source: El Impulso, El Sol de Margarita

Orlando Avendaño Orlando Avendaño

Orlando Avendaño is a PanAm Post intern who resides in Caracas, Venezuela, where he studies social communication at Andrés Bello Catholic University. Follow @OrlvndoA.

Mexican Inflation Reaches Highest Level in Two Years

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Dec 22, 2016, 4:59 pm
Mexico's rate of inflation is currently the highest in two years (

Español During the first half of December, Mexico's inflation rate accelerated to 3.48%, which surpassed expectations and represented the highest level seen in the last two years. This phenomenon is due to increases in the cost of goods, services, energy, and electricity rates, as announced Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). Analysts had predicted a rate of 3.42%. Yet, the current figure is dwarfed by a whopping 3.97% inflation rate recorded in the second half of December of 2014. The Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico) has an official inflation target of 3%, within a range of plus or minus 1%. Read More: Mexico Prepares Support Programs for Migrants to be Deported by Trump Read More: Big Bonuses Make it a Very Merry Christmas for Mexico's Congressmen Banxico increased its key interest rate by 50 basis points last week to 5.75% to offset external inflationary pressures after the US Federal Reserve raised the interest rate, and the strong depreciation of the Mexican peso against the dollar . According to data from INEGI in the first half of December, inflation in Mexico increased 0.42%; significantly higher than the 0.31% analysts had expected. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); "Core inflation, considered a better parameter to measure the trajectory of prices because it eliminates some products with high volatility, stood at 3.46% year-on-year to the first half of December," Mexican daily Milenio explains. After this increase, private analysts predict that inflation in Mexico will close this 2016 at 3.40%. The Mexican economy has been buffeted this year by a number of external factors, including falling oil prices and revenues, substantial decline of the Mexican peso, and threats by president-elect Donald Trump to revisit and review trade agreements between the United States and Mexico; all of which pose considerable risks to the Mexican economy. The centrist government of Enrique Pena Nieto and his PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party) has recently proposed a series of economic reforms, including liberalization of Mexico's substantial oil and gas industry. Source: Milenio

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