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Venezuela: State Raw Materials Monopoly Threatens Journalism

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Dec 30, 2016, 4:41 pm
Independent journalism has been threatened by the Maduro government's refusal to allocate raw materials (
Independent journalism has been threatened by the Maduro government’s refusal to allocate raw materials (La Patilla).

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At least 13 print media publications in Venezuela were affected by the lack of raw materials in the last half of the year. For this reason, many have been forced to cut the circulation of their newspapers.

The Venezuelan Institute of Press and Society (Ipys) warned that the lack of paper products in the South American country will only intensify the spread of misinformation, as the government increasingly puts pressure on independent media outlets.

The institute made this assessment in wake of the news that the independent regional daily El Impulso reported that it will only circulate until January 31 due to lack of paper.

“Venezuelan press outlets have had temporary forced closures in the past; some for a week or a month. The Impulse would be the first case of indefinite cessation of circulation after December 31, “said Mariengracia Chirinos, director of Freedom of Information for Ipys Venezuela.

Chirinos explained that the situation has been occurring from 2013 on, and that it is a result of the centralization of the importation of material for newspaper that is a function of the Venezuelan state.

In Venezuela it is the executive branch which decides which news mediums are given the hard currency and the raw materials in order to be able to print and circulate. However, only independent media outlets, likely to be more anti-government in their outlook, have been affected by the lack of raw materials.

In the past three years, about 48 print media publications have reported difficulties in accessing raw materials and have been forced to reduce their publishing; around 14 newspapers have been forced to temporarily suspend circulation, according to figures from the organization.

Nicolas Maduro, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, has often faced international criticism for cracking down on independent journalists.

Source: El Impulso

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Argentina’s New Finance Minister Promises to Lower the Deficit, Reduce Inflation

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Dec 30, 2016, 3:22 pm
dujovnenicolas1-30diciembre

EspañolIn his first press conference after being appointed Minister of Finance of Argentina, Nicolas Dujovne said that one of his main objectives is to lower the fiscal deficit, increase infrastructure spending and reduce taxes. Dujovne and Luis Caputo will lead the country's economy after the Ministry of Housing and Finance were divided in two following the resignation Monday of Alfonso Prat Gay per President Mauricio Macri's request. "My goal is to continue with the economic program of President Macri," Dujovne said, adding that the main challenge will be to comply with the 2017 budget approved in the National Congress. Read More: Why Air Travel in Latin America is So Expensive Read More: Chavismo and Corruption? The Dark Past of LAMIA Airlines Dujovne said that part of this year's efforts were aimed at normalizing the economic situation and dismantling the "perverse" way in which the economy operated under Cristina Kirchner. He stressed that from now on, the government will focus "very calmly" on fiscal numbers. Dujovne highlighted the success officials have had in stopping money laundering. "It is probable that we will have an improvement in revenues that we had budgeted for in 2017," he said. A record US $90 billion has reportedly been raised so far, and US $5 billion was collected for penalties. "Among the goals that we want to achieve in this first year is that if we have an excess of resources, we dedicate those resources to partially reducing the estimated deficit by 4.2 percent of the GDP" estimated for 2017, he said. Nevertheless, he clarified: "the expenditure will not undergo any modification of what is prescribed in the budget that was approved by Parliament." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   The finance minister said that with inflation "you do not have to sing victory" because "the process of de-inflation is long and difficult." According to the new minister, for the first time, an anti-inflationary policy is being implemented "with a floating exchange rate and a plan to normalize the price of public services." "We are not satisfied, we want inflation to be 5 percent annually in three or four years," he said. On the dollar, Dujovne said that Argentina currently has an exchange rate that is 15 percent more competitive than it was in 2015. "Argentina has significantly improved its competitiveness this year," the official said. Source: Infobae, Télam.

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