Maduro Asks Venezuela to ‘Resist’ as He Skips Minimum Wage Hike

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(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro asked Venezuelans to “resist” as he skipped an increase of the minimum wage, announcing additional food stamps instead.

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“Sooner or later we’ll get to the full recovery of wages, but right now, we have to resist, and resist strongly” Maduro said to a crowd gathered to commemorate the national workers’ holiday in downtown Caracas.

Maduro said he would increase Cestatickets, or a monthly allotment of food stamps, to $40 a month. The government last increased the minimum wage in March of last year to roughly 126 bolivars, the value of which has since weakened to approximately $5 from an initial $28. He also announced a one-time “war bonus” of $20.

Thousands of people marched through the main streets of Caracas on Monday, demanding fair wages and labor conditions during a national holiday celebrating workers. The demonstrations have emerged as a threat for Maduro as he reaches 10 years in office and a likely run at re-election in 2024.

  • Read more: Teachers Are Going Hungry on $20 Monthly Salaries in Venezuela

While an easing of economic controls allowed for a recent economic resurgence in Venezuela after a seven-year-long contraction, accelerating inflation and rampant dysfunction in the nation’s oil industry — its main source of revenue — is threatening to push the nation into a new recession.

--With assistance from Nicolle Yapur and Fabiola Zerpa.

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