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    A cashier counts Venezuelan bolivar notes at a street market in downtown Caracas, Venezuela

    Venezuelan Authorities Initiate Public Dialogue on Economic Development – Maduro

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    BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Venezuelan authorities will engage the general public in discussions on the economic development of the crisis-hit country, President Nicolas Maduro has said.

    In an address, broadcast live on Twitter on Wednesday, Maduro said that 4 and 5 May were "the great national days of dialogue", when representatives of all branches of the government discussed changes to the strategy of the country’s development and sought to create a special development plan.

    "I have initiated a process of dialogue with the public in an effort to create a plan of action, reconstruction and change in the Bolivarian Revolution. I need a plan … for changing the economic and political life of the country completely. The first events happened on Saturday and Sunday and they were very interesting. Now, I want such public meetings to be held at the end of this week, and thousands of public meetings to be held in order to hear the people, their criticism and suggestions […] People know everything", Maduro said.

    READ MORE: US Thanks India for Efforts to Cut Venezuela Oil Exports

    With the introduction of the new US sanctions in January, Venezuelan oil production has reportedly fallen by 431,000 barrels per day or 36.4 percent, depriving the nation of the ability to improve economic conditions. Meanwhile, Caracas reportedly derives more than 90 percent of its export earnings from the oil trade.

    The Venezuelan Central Bank revealed on Tuesday, that Caracas will stick to its policy of liberalizing its currency market since introducing absolutely free sale and purchase of foreign currencies in commercial banks. The Venezuelan government established control over all currency operations in the country since 2003. This resulted in an illegal market for currency in the country, with its exchange rate exceeding official ones by dozens of times. Venezuela liberalized dollar operations only in August 2018.

    Dollarization of the Venezuelan economy has been underway since the country officially legalized foreign currency turnover. Hotels, restaurants and shops across the country have started, gradually, to accept US dollars officially amid lack of cash bolivars.

    READ MORE: Juan Guaido Seeks to Sell Off Venezuela’s Oil Industry – Report

    Venezuela has been suffering from an acute economic crisis, exacerbated by various international sanctions imposed for months. The situation worsened on the back of the political instability, which has been rocking the country since January.

    Maduro has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Jaun Guaido as a US puppet. Russia, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for constitutionally-elected Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

    Earlier in April, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said the United States expects billions of dollars’ worth of investments to flow to Venezuela after President Nicolas Maduro is removed.

    READ MORE: French Oil Giant Total Could Stay in Venezuela Despite US Sanctions — CEO

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