Reuters: Venezuela opposition activist shot dead, party says in The Tailgate Posted January 8, 2016 · Edited January 8, 2016 by visionary http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8c883e55c85c4bdaa2d0807990e9dc0e/young-socialist-hardliner-will-lead-venezuelas-economy Young socialist hardliner will lead Venezuela's economy President Nicolas Maduro is doubling down on his existing economic policies with the appointment of a young leftist hardliner to head the country's cratering economy, setting the stage for confrontation between the ruling socialist party and the newly powerful opposition. Luis Salas, the new 39-year-old vice president for the economy, has scant administrative experience, but champions the same theories of price and currency controls that have defined Venezuela's leftist economic policy for 17 years. Like Maduro, Salas says the country is suffering from the world's worst recession and triple-digit inflation because business interests are colluding with the U.S. to sabotage the economy. He even goes further than Maduro in arguing that many of the country's problems are the result of being too capitalist. A professor at the Bolivarian University, an institution created by the late president Hugo Chavez, Salas was relatively unknown before this week. Now, the country is poring over his large body of pamphlets and letters. "Inflation doesn't exist in real life," he wrote last year. He added that prices go up not because of scarcity, but because of "capitalist economies that are driven by the desire for personal gain through the exploitation of others; by selfishness." http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-idUSKBN0UJ1NE20160106 Venezuela opposition takes control of Congress in rowdy session Venezuela's opposition took control of Congress for the first time in 16 years on Tuesday in a rowdy session, setting up a power struggle with President Nicolas Maduro amid a worsening economic crisis. The Democratic Unity coalition won a two-thirds majority in December's legislative election by capitalizing on anger over a shrinking economy, soaring prices and chronic product shortages reminiscent of Soviet-bloc economies. Maduro dismissed the new assembly as "right-wing" and filled with "dinosaurs" and said a cabinet change first announced a month ago would take place on Wednesday to shore up the leftist movement founded by late president Hugo Chavez. Veteran opposition legislator Henry Ramos was elected the new head of Congress in a session in which the two sides chanted slogans at one another and traded charges of corruption and betrayal. "What did we offer in our campaign? To recover the autonomy of the legislative branch," said Ramos in his opening speech to Congress. "This has been the loudspeaker of the presidential palace, the echo chamber of the executive branch." Venezuela's frustrated opposition supporters were glued to television and radio sets, delighted as they watched top Socialist Party leaders being publicly accused of corruption and mismanagement. Ramos flaunted the opposition's newfound control over the legislature by abruptly cutting off one Socialist Party deputy's diatribe against the opposition, saying he had run out of time. When heckled by another socialist deputy over a procedural complaint, Ramos brushed him aside by saying "Take it easy, congressman, things have changed here." Reporters interviewed deputies and walked freely on the floor of Congress for the first time in years, a practice that had been prohibited by the socialist leadership. A portrait of Chavez that hung in the main congressional chamber, a symbol of what critics call illegal politicization of public institutions, was removed.