Venezuela: devaluation causes chaos
The decision, by the Venezuelan government to devaluate the local currency, the bolivar, by 50%, has provoked such a marked increase in the prices of basic products that president Hugo Chávez has threatened to take over businesses that speculate with the price of foodstuffs.
Venezuela decided last Friday to establish two new exchange rates for the “strong” bolivar (the currency created by Chavez in January 2008): one for the import of basic products and another for non-essential produce.
During his Sunday programme, Aló Presidente, Chávez said that there was no need for businesses to increase the price of products bought with the old exchange rate and said that he was prepared to send in the army to deal with the problem.
After the announcement of the devaluation, thousands of people went to shops to buy food because of fears of shortages and price increases.
El Pais (Spanish)
El Nacional (Venezuela, Spanish)
Colombia: right-wing para-military infiltration behind political assassination
The infiltration of the security forces by a far-right paramilitary organisation led by the brothers Carlos Castaño Gil may be behind the assassination of political leaders in Colombia.
According to the office of the public prosecutor, the Castaño organisation had access to information that helped them become involved in the killing of presidential candidate Juan Carlos Galan in 1989, journalist Jaime Garzón in 1990 and the former leader of the M19 guerrilla Carlos Pizarro Leongomez in 1990.
The office of the prosecutor believes that the security forces are not institutionally responsible for the assassinations, but some employees were recruited by Castaño.
El Tiempo (Colombia, Spanish)
Argentina: payment of public debt sparks off heated debate
The decision by a judge to declare illegal the sacking of the president of the central bank and the accusations by former president Nestor Kirchner that there is a conspiracy against the government has provoked a bitter debate in Argentina.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner intended to pay Argentina’s public debt with the country’s monetary reserves, something that the governor of the central bank, Martín Redrado, opposed. The president dismissed Redrado but a judge in Buenos Aires has reinstated him.
In a rally, former president Nestor Kirchner accused the opposition of conspiring against the government to destabilise it, something the Radical Party rejects.
El País (Spanish)