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Venezuela Issues a Forced Labor Decree | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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(Foto AFP)

Caracas – Venezuelan government’s recently issued “forced labor” decree drew a large wave of criticism. The decree endorsed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, allows the government to draft public and private workers to increase food production.

Due to the current circumstances in the country, the decree would give Venezuela’s Ministry of Popular Power for Social Process of Work the ability to order any Venezuelan with the physical or technical capabilities to join the government’s effort to work in the agriculture sector for a maximum of 120 days.

Political analysts believe that this step will neither increase the production nor affect the market. Analysts attribute it to inflation and to the fact that the government is in high debt for suppliers.

Since the death of the former President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has been undergoing a political and economic crisis that leads its economy to collapse. This also caused an alarming increase in theft rates after shortage in food supplies reached an 80%.

The political crisis in Venezuela has reached the countries of Mercosur, the common market of the south, especially after the failure to elect a new president of the organization due to the fact that the members refused Venezuela to head the organization.

Usually, the leadership of Mercosur is done alphabetically which meant that Venezuela was supposed to head the organization following Uruguay.

Yet the transition didn’t happen after both Brazil and Paraguay refused to attend the meeting to elect a new president.

Mercosur is made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela and is currently negotiating a free-trade treaty with the European Union (EU).

Meanwhile, protests continue in Venezuela demanding the resignation of Maduro, yet a public referendum doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon especially after the National Electoral Council decided to postpone it.

Despite the fact that seven out of 10 people oppose the president, public mobilization doesn’t seem to be high due to the fact that the citizens are occupied with their daily problems and lack of food supplies.

Opposition believes that it is important to have the referendum before January 10 because if Maduro resigned before that, early elections will take place.