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In Venezuela, Huge Wage Boost Means Little

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a poster explaining the new minimum wage as he speaks during a news conference in Caracas, April 30, 2018.

Venezuela raised its minimum wage to 1 million bolivars per month on Monday, the third increase this year that puts the figure at just $1.61 at the black market exchange rate.

President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement of the 155 percent rise — or 13 percent fall, in dollar terms — came three weeks before a presidential election. It accompanies a monthly food ticket now worth just over 1.5 million bolivars.

The once-rich OPEC country is in the midst of an economic crisis in which millions earn just a couple of dollars per month, suffer food and medicine shortages and battle soaring inflation.

Maduro blames an “economic war” waged against his government by Washington and the country’s opposition.