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Venezuelan president tries out new emergency powers

22 ноября 2013, 15:09
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro exercised new emergency powers for the first time Thursday, signing decrees limiting business profit margins and tightening regulation of imports, AFP reports.

He acted as part of a so-called "economic war" against a crisis for which he blames the opposition "bourgeoisie" and imperialism.

Under new powers granted to Maduro on Tuesday, the two new laws aim to control prices and profits in the business sector and closely monitor imports and exports and hard currency that comes in from oil sales, Venezuela's main source of revenue.

Maduro's government says the business sector has been chalking up profit margins of up to 1,000 percent on imported goods.

The center-right opposition has called a rally for Saturday to protest the emergency powers granted to Maduro, the handpicked successor of the late populist president Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela's economic woes are marked by inflation running at 54 percent and shortages of basic goods, among other problems.

The opposition says the new powers are a tool granted to the government for electoral gain ahead of municipal elections on December 8.

These are seen as a test of popular sentiment toward Maduro, who took power after narrowly winning an April election weeks after Chavez died of cancer.

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