Venezuelan Central Bank contradicts Maduro: Crisis existed before sanctions

The publication of the figures that target Maduro coincides with the rumors of the alleged disappearance of BCV president, Calixto Ortega.

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The report that targets Maduro was published days after rumors surfaced that Calixto Ortega, the president of the financial institution, had left Venezuela.

The Central Bank of Venezuela published for the first time in three years the “made-up” figures of the Venezuelan economy. In its report, the bank reveals that it was Nicolás Maduro’s regime that destroyed the country’s economy and not the international sanctions as Chavismo claims.

Economists and analysts were surprised to learn that the BCV controlled by Chavista Calixto Ortega published the figures as it had not issued any official statistics for the last three years.

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The scandalous numbers were published at the same time as the regime began talks in Norway with the opposition, and come days after rumors surfaced that Calixto Ortega, the president of the financial institution, had left Venezuela. The BCV itself published this information.

It should be remembered that it was the managing vice-president, and not Ortega, who signed the last foreign exchange resolution published by the Official Gazette.

The intention behind publishing these numbers is unknown. However, the statistics expose Maduro’s shortcomings and provide evidence of the destruction of the country.

Recently the dictatorship blamed the U.S. government for the death of children waiting for bone marrow transplants for freezing assets abroad. However, the figures revealed by the BCV indicate that the South American country has been facing an economic crisis for more than five years.

In an interview with PanAm Post, economist Luis Oliveros pointed out that the revelation of the BCV confirms that Venezuela is going through its worst economic moment in the history of the region.

“The statistics are chilling. For example, the construction sector experienced a 90% decline between 2013 and 2018. The fall in GDP in the same period is about 50%. These are powerful figures that confirm the recession that Venezuela is experiencing,” said the economist. He added that the Central Bank also recognizes the inflation Venezuela is experiencing.

On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Venezuela acknowledged the devastation of the economy by revealing that inflation had reached 130,060% in 2018, and the GDP has halved since 2013.

Between 2012 and 2018, imports declined by 77.5%. The GDP fell by 47.1% in the third quarter of 2018. Inflation rose 1047% between January and April of 2019.

The data for the increase in the costs of living is below the estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF calculated this increase at 1,370,000% only in the last year and projected inflation at 10,000,000% in 2019 for the oil-producing country.

According to Maduro, the sanctions imposed by the USA on Venezuela and its state-owned oil company PDVSA are responsible for the economic collapse of the country. However, Oliveros asserts that the BCV data confirms that the large part of the destruction of the economy occurred before the sanctions when Venezuela reduced its petroleum exports and stopped paying debts and honoring commitments.

“The great majority of the population is well aware that the U.S. economy and oil sanctions against Venezuela did not create the crisis. Venezuela was already going through adversity; the BCV numbers also reveal it, and the catastrophe in the country is simply the result of poor decisions. Sanctions have not been responsible for the negative things that are happening,” he said.

According to official BCV figures, oil exports, the source of 96% of the country’s income, plummeted to 29,810 million USD in 2018. They were 85,603 million USD in 2013 and 71,732 million USD in 2014 when crude oil prices collapsed, and a severe crisis hit Venezuelans.

Imports fell from 57,183 million USD in 2013 to 14,866 million USD in 2018, thereby explaining the severe shortage of essential goods.

The economic collapse is further evident in the case of non-oil imports, which fell from 44,067 million USD in 2013 to 5,835 million USD in 2018.

The economist also added that the BCV figures reveal that both Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro achieved their socialist mission of destroying the country’s private sector.

“The first look shows that the private sector is quickly disappearing; it is the one that has suffered the most in the last few years, and the decline is per Chavez’s and Maduro’s socialist discourse and against private enterprise,” he said.

The crisis came first

On 27th May, The NGO Provea published research by economist Manuel Sutherland, which analyzes the impact of international economic sanctions. According to the report, the effect of the sanctions “is barely manifesting.”

The report points out, “While it is true that since 2017 it is much more difficult for the government to import food and medicines, the severe shortage is mainly a result of the economic crisis that has been brewing in the country since 2009.” The report also points out that, Maduro could import food and medicines from companies in India, Russia, China that are allies of the regime.

“The first financial sanctions started in August 2017, and the first direct economic sanctions began in November 2018. That said, and remembering what is written above, the sanctions were imposed in 2017 when the Venezuelan economy was already at the lowest point in its history. From 2013 to 2016, the economy had already fallen by almost 25% (Salas, 2017), and for the first time in its history, it recorded a continuous fall for 12 quarters. Economic sanctions were imposed in August 2017. In the first two quarters of that year, the economy had shrunk by about 8%, so the economy had already fallen by at least 30%, one of the worst GDP falls in Latin America’s history. Therefore, when the sanctions entered the economic scenario, the economy was already on a dangerous path of destruction.”

 

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