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  June 2, 2016

Is There an Economic and Political War Against Venezuela?


Floating exchange rate and rising oil prices will go a long way to stabilize the Venezuelan economy, but other economic reforms are also necessary, says CEPR economist Mark Weisbrot
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biography

Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. He is author of the book Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015), co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000), and has written numerous research papers on economic policy. He writes a column on economic and policy issues that is distributed to over 550 newspapers by the Tribune Content Agency. His opinion pieces have appeared in The Guardian, New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and most major U.S. newspapers, as well as in Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo. He appears regularly on national and local television and radio programs. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.


precis

The U.S. government is in "full regime change mode" and waging "an economic and political war against Venezuela," says Mark Weisbrot, economist for the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Weisbrot also says the idea that Venezuela is a threat to U.S. national security is "ridiculous."

Despite oil prices having risen to $50 a barrel, Venezuela is undergoing an economic crisis in part due to an inflation spiral.

The country has "to change it's system of relative prices" and "subsidize the majority of people with low cost food and other essential items directly instead of trying to do it indirectly through the exchange rate. That's the most basic reform they need," says Weisbrot.

He also recommends unifying the exchange rate to eliminate the black market for dollars, which is worsening inflation.

Opposition parties have taken initial steps to recall President Nicholas Maduro.

However, from 2002 to 2013, the country saw "an enormous reduction in poverty and improvement in living standards, and that's why the government still has a base of support," says Weisbrot.


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