Venezuela Economy 2007

By | December 16, 2021

The now critical economic situation and the president’s authoritarian policy increased the discontent among the population, which between February and May 2001 led to a series of strikes (teachers and workers in the oil and steel sectors). The very majority in support of the president showed signs of crisis: in October the MAS withdrew support from the government. Furthermore, the application of the two laws that allowed the government to expropriate the land considered unproductive and to increase the concession fees imposed on private oil companies provoked the harsh reaction of the CTV and also of the association of Venezuelan entrepreneurs, Fedecámaras ( Federación de Cámaras y Asociaciones de Comercio y Producción de Venezuela ), which called for general (11 December) and sectoral (8 March 2002 in the oil industry) strikes, and promoted street demonstrations, often accompanied by violence (December 2001, January and March 2002). Given that these initiatives had not achieved any results, on April 9, 2002 the two organizations declared an indefinite general strike, while on the 11th several hundred thousand people marched on the presidential palace, demanding the resignation of Chávez and clashing with supporters. of the president and with the security forces (there were a total of 20dead and about a hundred injured by gunshots). The situation worsened on the 12th, when, using the previous day’s clashes as a pretext, a group of soldiers arrested Chávez inside the presidential palace, then confined him to the naval base of the island of La Orchila, and decreed his dismissal, appointing him president. ad interim Fr. Carmona Estanga (leader of Fedecámaras); he dissolved the Asamblea Nacional and the Supreme Court of Justice, declared the ‘Bolivarian’ Constitution null and void and revoked all presidential decrees issued since November 2000. The coup was condemned by several Latin American countries, but not by the United Statesaroused an immediate reaction in Venezuela, on the part of both the population, who clashed with the coup military on April 13, leaving 23 dead on the ground, both, above all, of numerous army officers loyal to the deposed president, and the day himself attacked the base of La Orchila and freed him. In the meantime Carmona had been forced, due to protests from other Latin American countries, to reconvene the Asamblea Nacional , which declared his mandate illegal; then, also pressured by threats from the loyalist military to attack the presidential palace, he resigned on the evening of the 13th. On the 14th Chávez returned to his post. For Venezuela business, please check

In the following months, the political crisis continued to worsen: the opposition – united in the Coordinadora Democrática , CD – organized new demonstrations, accompanied by violent clashes (May and June), and another 24- hour general strike (21 Oct.), Advancing pressing calls for early legislative and presidential elections to be called. On 22 and 23 October there was another abortive attempt at a military coup . On 2 December a general strike began which lasted for nine weeks and had serious repercussions on the economy of the Venezuela, in particular on the oil industry. In November 2003the CD presented a petition with 3.6 million signatures: the petition called for a referendum to revoke Chávez’s presidential term. After a long legal and political battle (which also saw violent street demonstrations, with a death toll of 14), in May 2004 the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) declared 2.4 million valid, the minimum necessary that was required by the Constitution, and the government was then forced to call a referendum. The consultation (in which 69.9 % of the voters voted) was held in August 2004, and the revocation proposal was rejected by a large majority (59.2 %).

The result of the referendum was a severe blow to the opposition; the CD, divided on what to do, first lost some of its components and then dissolved, and Chávez’s influence on the population, especially on its poorest segments, increased: in the regional elections (Oct) the MVR and the small parties his allies secured control of 20 of the 23 estados . The popularity of the MVR received further confirmation in the December 2005 legislative elections, in which however the five major opposition parties had refused to take part, claiming that the CNE favored government candidates and that the secrecy of the vote was not guaranteed. Although with a very high percentage of abstentions (74.7%), the elections assigned the MVR (which in the single-member constituencies had presented itself together with the small allied parties, under the name Unión de Vencedores Electorales , UVE) 85 % of the votes and 161 seats out of 167 ; the other parties in favor of the president got 14.5 % of the votes and the remaining 6 seats, while the few opposition parties that showed up got just 0.5 % and no seats. Having obtained well over two-thirds of the seats, the MVR was consequently in a position to amend the Constitution.

In 2005-06 the project of ‘nationalization’ of the country proceeded with great strides, both in the context of agricultural property, with the expropriation of unproductive estates, and in the oil and mining sectors, with the revocation of concessions to foreign companies aimed at mining of gold and diamonds.

Venezuela Economy 2007