- Title: Venezuela economy to shrink 7-10 pct this year -business chamber
- Date: 9th August 2017
- Summary: MEMBER HOLDING PHOTO OF LATE PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2017 19:54
- Keywords: Venezuela economy head Fedecamaras Reuters Latin America Investment Summit Caracas
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0026TFR2GZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO AS INCOMING
Venezuela's asphyxiating economy will contract between 7 and 10 percent this year, the head of the country's main business chamber Fedecamaras said on Wednesday (August 9) at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit in Caracas.
Fedecamaras' president said that leftist President Nicolas Maduro's new, globally-condemned legislative superbody would only deepen a severe economic crisis, in which millions are suffering food and medicine shortages. The 60-year-old U.S.-educated businessman said the country needed to change its socialist model.
Fedecamaras has long been at odds with the government after its president at the time, Pedro Carmona, briefly became interim president of the country in a 2002 coup against late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
Unpopular President Nicolas Maduro blames the crisis on an "economic war" by the business elite as well as Washington. The president says the assembly is necessary to achieve peace in Venezuela.
For Larrazabal, the "economic war" is in fact against the private sector rather than waged by it. According to his records, since Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, the government has expropriated more than 1,500 businesses and 5.2 million hectares of land "which today are not productive."
Although there have been no official figures for almost two years, the economy contracted 18.6 percent in 2016, the worst in 13 years, according to data obtained by Reuters in early 2017.
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