Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Venezuela: low pay fuels discontent among civil servants

CARACAS ( Associated Press) — Neither pensions nor Venezuelan teachers, doctors, civil servants or retirees in the public service guarantee adequate economic stability in a context of rising inflation and the continuing devaluation of the bolivar. That narcissism has prompted public sector workers and pensioners to protest in the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities.

They are demanding a substantial wage increase from the government of President Nicolas Maduro to help recover their purchasing power hit by inflation and devaluation. Protests from two weeks ago returned to the streets on Monday.

“I should be at home in peace, but I’m marching because it hurts me to know that I worked for so many years for nothing and it hurts me to know that there are people who don’t have this pathetic pension.” There is no family member with you. Help them,” said 59-year-old retiree Maria Acosta.

“If it wasn’t for my son, I would have been dead by now,” Acosta said. His daily treatment with the high blood pressure drug losartan, alone “takes up almost his entire pension,” the equivalent of minimum wage. The price for a presentation of 30 losartan tablets is 102.82 bolivars, approximately $5.1.

The minimum wage in Venezuela, which most Venezuelans earn, is 130 bolivars a month, about $6.33. This amount is inconsistent with the high prices of goods and services denominated in dollars and adds to the scenario an inflation that condemns millions of people to poverty.

The Venezuelan Finance Observatory, a private organization run by opposition lawmakers, estimated annual inflation reached 306% last year and 37% in December, the highest rate in 20 months.

The Federation of Chambers and Associations of Commerce and Production of Venezuela – the largest chamber of companies in the country – in a statement expressed the “urgent need to establish a discussion on the minimum wage, where all actors participate.”

“The decision on the wage issue cannot be deferred, not in isolation, but to a wage policy which gives wage stability and maintains its purchasing power and, at the same time, allows stability of sources of employment, ” They said. writing.

The Central Bank of Venezuela, which usually reports official figures with a delay of up to a year, reported in October that accumulated inflation in the first 10 months of 2022 stood at 127.8%, without giving further details.

In Caracas, protesters tried to reach the door of the headquarters of the Public Powers, but could not get through.

As is often the case, the Maduro government called its own march. Platforms and barricades were erected blocking the way of protest marches headed towards the National Assembly and the area around the presidential palace in the center of the Venezuelan capital.

Supporters of the ruling party—mostly members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) grassroots organizations—also marched in support of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution and “against US blockades and sanctions”.

Nation World News Desk
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