[Below is an article I wrote for venezuelanalysis regarding the piloting of social currency by Venezuela's Ministry of Popular Economy (MINEP) at a 3-day fair, inaugurated last Friday by MINEP’s new head, Pedro Morejón. --Ed]
Rosa Mendoza, left, and Paula Lopez, right, two members of the Las Arañitas textile cooperative in San Felipe, state of Yaracuy, at MINEP's 4th School Fair for Popular Economy held in Caracas, Venezuela, Sep. 17, 2006. Credit: Pablo Navarrete
Ministry of Popular Economy Pilots Social Currency
By Pablo Navarrete - Venezuelanalysis.com
September 19, 2006
Caracas, Venezuela, September 19, 2006—Venezuela’s Ministry of Popular Economy (MINEP) piloted the use of social currency at a 3-day fair, inaugurated last Friday by MINEP’s new head, Pedro Morejón. Morejón, a representative of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s MVR party in the Venezuelan National Assembly, replaced Olly Millan as MINEP’s head last Thursday.
Ahead of the 4th School Fair for Popular Economy held in Caracas, employees of MINEP and four government bodies that form part of the ministry who have children at school were given printed color paper notes bearing the face of Latin American independence hero Francisco de Miranda. The mirandinos (‘little mirandas’) could be used to buy goods from any of the 270 government sponsored cooperatives from around the country present at the fair. The cooperatives then exchanged the ‘mirandinos’ for real money through MINEP.
Speaking to Venezuelanalysis.com, Rosa Mendoza and Paula Lopez, two members of the Las Arañitas textile cooperative in San Felipe, state of Yaracuy, said, “Everything has gone really well, the facilities have been first-rate and we have managed to sell a lot.”
Morejón said that the social currency pilot would be evaluated with a view to expanding its use to other government bodies. He added that the plan was to set up a system of barter and exchange with cooperatives, in order to work towards the establishment of socialist cooperatives. Since early 2005 the government has framed it polices in the context of working towards what it terms “socialism of the 21st century.”
Reinaldo Iturriza, head of MINEP’s communication unit, told Venezuelanalysis.com, “The use of social currency at this fair constitutes one of the first attempts at alternative forms of commercial exchange. For us the most important thing to bear in mind is that our horizon is governed by the need to transform the capitalist economy into one that puts people first.”
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