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Minister Rodr?guez: Venezuelan economy can be sustained for three more years without big sacrifices

During its ten years in office, the government has implemented policies that are allowing the country’s economy to resist the hardships the global economic crisis is causing for many countries and to guarantee soundness for the next three years.

That is what Alí Rodríguez Araque, Minister of People’s Power for Economics and Finance, said.  Minister Rodríguez also emphasized that “in comparison to other countries, Venezuela is in much better condition to face the conflict, although that does not mean we are invulnerable to the crisis.  We can sustain the economy for three more years without big sacrifices.”

The Finance Minister stressed that one of the macroeconomic measures designed to guarantee the continuity of the socialist project is the accumulation of resources in different funds, both national and bi-national, as well as international reserves, that have allowed the country to be in a comfortable situation in the face of the global crisis.

During an appearance on ‘Entre Periodistas’ (Among Journalists), a program broadcast by Televen, Rodríguez referred to the National Development Fund (Fonden), the Chinese-Venezuelan Fund, and funds for the depositing of excess reserves, among others.

Furthermore, the Finance Minister reiterated that the government has discussed the economic situation using various possible scenarios, including changes in oil prices.

On this point, he indicated that the stability of oil prices guarantees soundness for the Venezuelan economy and generates calm in the face of this global crisis caused by capitalist policies.

“The epicenter of the crisis is the economy of the United States.  It is creating universal worry as a product of globalization.  That is to say, this situation has affected every economy of the world to different degrees.  Nevertheless, in the case of Venezuela, the crisis will only affect us in terms of the variation of oil prices,” he explained.

As a strategy to protect the economy, government calculated oil revenues for 2008 based on a price $35 a barrel; the price averaged $60 for the year.

It is important to note that the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket is currently $36.  Nevertheless, both Venezuela as well as other OPEC countries are forecasting price stabilization for the second half of the year.

The next OPEC meeting is scheduled for March, and Venezuela’s representatives, led by Rafael Ramírez, Minister of People’s Power for Energy and Petroleum (Menpet) and also the President of PDVSA, have not ruled out new oil cuts, in addition to the 4.2 million barrels cut so far, as a response to falling demand.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / February 25, 2009

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