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Thursday 9th
posted by James Tweedie in World

Recovery shows Washington’s attempts at sabotage have failed

VENEZUELA’S economy is bouncing back despite US financial sanctions, ministers and business leaders said on Monday.

Economic activity is up 63 per cent, oil prices are up by $15 a barrel and non-oil exports are up 30 per cent.

Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino said: “The Venezuelan oil basket has exceeded the $55 per barrel barrier.”

“Four months ago, it was in the order of $40 or $41,” he said, indicating a 30 per cent increase since then.

Mr del Pino credited the rise to President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts over the past year to secure an oil production cap agreement between fellow Opec members and 11 other major producers.

He said that Venezuela was now pressing oil producers to extend that agreement beyond the first quarter of next year.

“We will keep arguing openly for an extension of the the accord,” the success of which was measured by the rising oil price. “We must keep driving it up,” he said.

Mr Maduro has long accused the US of waging an economic war against his country, forcing down the price of its key export by opening up new oil and gas fields through fracking.

Vice-President for the Economy Wilmar Castro said the tax and customs service had recorded “economic activity in the country rising by 63 per cent.”

He added that the government had managed to harmonise “productive development in each of the motors,”

referring to economic diversification targets in various sectors.

And Venezuelan Export Association president Ramon Goyo said the first six months of the year had seen “an upturn in non-oil exports of 30 per cent on average.”

He added that Latin America was Venezuela’s second-biggest export market, bringing in $309 million (£236m) from January to June.

Meanwhile, more cracks showed in the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) coalition.

The hard-line Justice First (PJ) and Popular Will parties attacked ally A New Time’s decision to stand Manuel Rosales in the December 10 by-election for Zulia state


The by-election was prompted by PJ governor-elect Juan Pablo Guanipa’s refusal to be sworn in before the country’s Mud-opposed constituent assembly, even after four governors from the more moderate Democratic Action opposition party opted to take the oath.

At the weekend, Radical Cause party leader Andres Velasquez told newspaper Panorama that the Mud “doesn’t exist” after its beating in the October state elections and “has to be rebuilt.”