Chavez blasts Central Bank

April 3, 2003

President Hugo Chávez blasted the Venezuelan Central Bank on Wednesday for allowing “savage” levels of interest rates to prevail. Chavez said: “I demand, with all due respect for the autonomy of the Central Bank …the Central Bank has to listen to the country”. For the second time in a week Chávez said that if the Central Bank does not listen to him, he would go to the Supreme Court to force it to do it. He said the structure of the Bank still was “infiltrated by neoliberal currents which serve those that want a coup”. Finally, in the most irresponsible statement, which simply describes Chavez’ tenure in the Presidency, he reminded the Directors of the Central Bank that sometimes decision have to be more political than technical. Clearly Chavez is fed up with the independence of the Central Bank, much like he has been fed up with every institution that does not follow his whims and wishes at every step. The question is what type of retaliation there will be on the Central Bank if it does not follow the President’s orders. By the way, Venezuela’s Constitution, written by a Chavez dominated Constituent Assembly (96% were from his party) grants the Central Bank independence.

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