In a year-end assessment of his administration at an international press conference on Tuesday, Maduro recalled the “guarimbas” or violent demonstrations promoted by the most radical factions of his country's US backed right-wing in February, demanding the president's “exit” – only two months after his party won the local elections.
Maduro said this was the beginning of the most recent phase of the economic war conducted against Venezuela by these sectors, and pointed to the loss of “43 compatriots” killed during the violence as well as damage to public infrastructure,
“Inflation is not a neutral number, but is a result of an economic war,” he explained, comparing the current situation to year 2002, when Venezuela's business confederation and right-wing unions organized a prolonged strike prior to attempting a coup against former President Hugo Chavez.
“This year's destabilization was the most violent attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government since the coup attempt of 2002,” added Maduro.
The Venezuelan leader said that while the violence was controlled, second half of the year brough on an “escalation of the economic war.”
With the central bank announcing that the economy had shrunk by 2.3% in the third quarter of the year, Maduro suggested that this was the result of the dramatic drop in oil prices – at least 50 percent in 6 months.
He said while flooding the markets with oil was part of an effort aimed principally as an attack on the Russian economy, it was also directed at Venezuela, South America´s leading oil producer.
Maduro referenced an interview given by U.S. President Barack Obama where he acknowledged coordinating attempts against Russia's oil-based economy.
Washington in the economic war against Venezuela, as it has done with Cuba or more recently as Barack Obama acknowledged it had run against Russian economy.
“Their goal is to destroy OPEC, destroy oil prices, which will have other collateral effect that will be disastrous for the South, for the world. It is a war,” Maduro claimed.
With the central bank noting that inflation had reached 63.6% in the 12 months to November, one of the highest rates in the world, Mr Maduro announced a number of measures to boost economic growth and control inflation, including reforms to Venezuela's currency control system.
The Venezuelan president outlined a two-year plan aimed at “changing the economic model,” including the appointment of a board of directors of PDVSA, with “a plan to diversify national and international investments of the oil company.”
Maduro also outlined a 7 point economic policy to be implemented starting January 3 which includes:
1. Optimizing investments in social programs, infrastructure, etc, while stabilizing prices;
2. Maintain and increase investments in the socialist economy;
3. Guaranteeing the necessary resources for the functioning of the economy, especially the provision of foreign currency;
4. Adjust policies in order to better combat smuggling;
5. Building a broad productive alliance including special economic zones;
6. Setting up a new productive model for state and occupied enterprises; and
7. Activating the new central agency for the planning and re-activating of the economy.
These measures will be overseen by a team appointed by the new state agency, who will implement the measures including:
1. The implementation of a new, unified exchange system;
2. The implementation of a fiscal reform;
3. The optimization of public investment;
4. The strengthening of foreign currency reserves & creation of a reserve investment system in bolivars (Venezuela's currency);
5. The application of a system of fair prices;
6. The control of the excess liquidity, in order to help stabilize prices;
7. The implementation of special economic zones.