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Venezuela: Assembly ‘will foil black marketeers’

VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro has said that the new Constituent Assembly will act this week to end the economic war on the country.

In a television interview on Sunday with veteran journalist Jose Vicente Rangel, Mr Maduro said the three-week-old assembly would take steps to end black-market speculation that caused soaring inflation.

The assembly’s economic commission, made up of representatives of the labour and business sectors, will announce measures to ensure the government price cap on foodstuffs and other goods is respected, he said.

The commission would also unveil legal measures “to shake up society.”

The president blamed shortages and inflation on price-fixing based on a speculative dollar exchange rate set by anti-Venezuelan interests in the US.

“We are now confronted with a demonic and stifling system of criminal price-fixing of a war dollar and this battle is being waged openly, but we are going to win,” he said.

Mr Maduro added that the government was working to overcome US “oil reservism” that has depressed the price of Venezuela’s staple export, stressing that the tactic was “now exhausted.”

The president said he was “absolutely sure” that the country would break free from the “dependent economy and build a productive economy.”

He called on the people to back the campaign, saying: “One Maduro cannot make mountains, so join me to hit speculation hard.”

On Saturday, new Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called for a summit of all governments in favour of dialogue between the government and opposition, without “foreign interference, disrespect for sovereignty or the laying of political groundwork for US imperialism to implement an intervention in Venezuela.”

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