Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro faces strong criticism from the head of the National Assembly for overseeing an “erroneous” economic model. The remarks came on the day of the President’s annual State of the Nation address. CCTV’s Stephen Gibbs reports from Caracas.
Maduro criticized by head of Venezuela’s national assemblyVenezuela's President Nicolas Maduro faces strong criticism from the head of the National Assembly for overseeing an "erroneous" economic model. The remarks came on the day of the President's annual State of the Nation address. CCTV's Stephen Gibbs reports from Caracas.
It is Venezuela’s equivalent of the State of the Union, or opening of parliament. An opportunity for the head of state to address elected deputies.
For the last 17 years of leftist rule here the President has had the luxury of preaching to the converted, but not anymore. Venezuela’s National Assembly is now opposition-controlled.
And on the day of this speech, belatedly released economic figures confirmed that this country has the world’s highest inflation, and a fast-shrinking economy.
After a cordial start, it was the President who went on the attack-berating the opposition for its plan to give those living in public housing the title deeds to their homes.
“You haven’t built one single house. We have built a million. You think we are going to let you privatize No. No. No!” Maduro said.
Behind the President was the head of the National Assembly-Henry Ramos. He has said he wants to see Maduro out of power within six months.
The speech ended, and then something extraordinary happened. On live television, broadcast to the nation, Ramos berated the head of state.
“Over the last seventeen years, Mr. President, there has been an economic model, a growth model, which has not had good results. It’s been repeatedly adjusted. Plan A, Plan B, The Patriotic Plan. President, the economic consequences are getting worse every day. Because the model is wrong. And here we have the evidence,” Ramos said.
Government supporters outside, supposedly there to cheer on their president, had to listen in silence.
Soldiers couldn’t help but watch the giant TV screens as Ramos accused Maduro of politicizing the army.
Afterwards the President’s men rallied behind him. The country’s former foreign minister said what we had all just witnessed was democracy
“The opposition expressed themselves with total freedom, including freedom to insult institutions like the army,” Elias Jaua, Former Venezuelan Foreign Minister said.
And Venezuela’s new economic minister, an academic, said the whole concept of inflation should be the subject of debate.
“When prices rise you need to take into account the role of speculators, and the power that those who decide prices have,” Luis Salas, Venezuelan Minister of Productive Economy said.