Venezuela’s National Assembly on Tuesday gave President Nicolas Maduro wide-ranging special powers to rule by decree for one year.
The socialist president of the OPEC member state says he needs the greater personal power as his government struggles with soaring inflation and shortages of basic goods.
Maduro requested the special powers last month, citing the need to fight corruption and take on opponents who are waging “economic warfare” against his government.
Maduro, 50, has said he will use the expanded powers to impose caps on private sector profits and crack down on speculators.
The vote is the latest move by the elected Venezuelan leader, a protege of late president Hugo Chavez, to strengthen his hand as he faces an important political test in municipal elections next month.
Over the weekend, Maduro used his existing authority to make retail appliance stores slash prices, sending troops to keep order among the unruly crowds that quickly formed.
The deep discounts of as much as 60 percent — which Maduro has said would be extended to toys, cars and clothing — come as workers cash their year end pay bonuses, allowing them to make purchases that otherwise might have been out of reach.
Venezuela has been battered by a 54 percent rate of inflation, a shortage of hard currency, and widespread shortages.
Critics however blame Venezuela’s economic woes on the government-imposed fixed exchange rate and price controls, saying they have led to a lack of basic goods such as toilet paper, rice and meat.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who refused to concede defeat to Maduro in April’s presidential election, has called the parliamentary move a “fraud against Venezuelans.”
Capriles called Maduro “a failed Cuban-style puppet, who aims to impose upon us an economic model that does not work.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
Atlanta mayor urges violent protesters to ‘go home’
ATLANTA — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had a blunt message to protesters who turned the streets of downtown Atlanta into scenes of violence and destruction late Friday: “Go home.”In an emotional news conference, flanked by hip-hop stars and civil rights leaders, the mayor said that demonstrators outraged at systemic racism and police violence are defying the city’s legacy of nonviolent protest by destroying police cars and smashing windows.“This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos,” she said. “A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, ... (more…)
‘Brutal and unacceptable’: Calls for arrest of NYPD cop who put woman in the ER during protests
The Speaker of the New York City Council is demanding accountability for a NYPD officer caught on tape violently striking a woman during protests of police violence.
Video of the incident appeared on social media on Friday. The video appears to show the cop running up a shoving the woman, launching her off her feet.
She is reportedly now in the ER after suffering a serious seizure.
"This officer needs to be charged with assault," Speaker Cory Johnson posted on Twitter. "Hard to watch. Brutal and unacceptable."
This officer needs to be charged with assault.
‘I’m getting shot’: Shocking video shows police in Louisville hitting journalists with pepper bullets
Police fired pepper bullets at a camera crew doing a live broadcast of the police violence protests in Louisville on Friday evening.
"WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust appeared to have been hit by rubber bullets reportedly fired by an LMPD officer during a protest in downtown Louisville," the station reported.
Rust was wearing a fluorescent safety vest at the time of the incident.
"I'm getting shot," she shouted.
The news anchor asked, "who are they aiming that at?"