Friday, January 15, 2010

Chavez raises Venezuelan minimum wage 25 percent

Chavez isn't easily thrown off balance by adversity, and "El Comandante" seemed very much at ease as he greeted hundreds of spirited supporters outside the assembly upon his arrival.

He briefly strummed on a harp, joining a musical group playing "joropo," folk music from the sun-baked central plains where the president was born and raised.

Chavez said the minimum wage will increase 10 percent in March and 15 percent in September, bringing it to nearly 1,200 bolivars, or $521 at a new preferential exchange rate set last week for priority goods such as food. Inflation is widely expected to surge higher this year after last week's devaluation.