Venezuela becoming ‘laughing stock’, ex-Chavez economic guru says

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Venezuela's Planning Minister Jorge Giordani talks to the media during a news conference in CaracasVenezuela’s economic failings are turning it into the “laughing-stock” of Latin America, according to late president Hugo Chavez’s top economic planner. Former Finance and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani, who was sacked in mid-2014 by Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, said in an interview this week that reforms in the South American OPEC nation are years overdue. “In truth, we are almost the laughing stock of Latin America,” Giordani, 75, said. “If the situation is bad, if the thermometer is at 40 degrees, there are those who blame the thermometer … We need to acknowledge the crisis, comrades.” Venezuela’s ailing economy is Maduro’s No. 1 problem.