Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a 40% increase in the minimum wage from January, a move that will encourage what many economists already consider to be hyperinflation in this oil-rich but crisis-ridden nation.
In his televised end-of-year speech, Maduro said the new pay level would protect workers from what he calls Washington's "economic war" to sabotage socialism. "Good news!", Said the former bus driver and union leader, speaking next to a Venezuelan flag in a noon address.
Most economists say that the government is actually fomenting a vicious circle in a country that is already fighting against the world's fastest inflation.
To counter these price increases, Maduro increased the minimum wage, but the acceleration of inflation coupled with the depreciation of the Bolivarian currency plunged millions of people into poverty.
Venezuelans will now earn 797,510 bolivars a month, taking into account food tickets, a little over $ 7 on the widely used black market index. Millions will still not be able to afford three meals a day, while this increase should still fuel inflation.
Prices rose 1,369% between January and November, according to figures released earlier this month by opposition-run Congress, which estimated that the 2017 rate would exceed 2,000%. The Venezuelan government no longer publishes inflation data on a regular basis.
Opposition politicians say that Maduro's refusal to revise the economic model led by the state of Venezuela and stop the printing of excessive money will only that create more misery in 2018.