Category Archives: Venezuela

(ZH) Military Seizes Control Of Water Supplies As Venezuelan Infrastructure Collapses

(ZH) If there’s one group that has benefited from Venezuela’s economic collapse, it’s the country’s military, which has been handed control over much of the country’s remaining industry as the collapse has intensified. Venezuela’s army, about 160,000 strong, controls the mineral-rich Arco Minero del Orinoco, and some of its top officers are also serving as executives of Venezuela’s state-run oil company.

And as the collapse of social services has caused water supplies to dwindle, the military has recently hijacked what spigots remain, transforming access to water into a luxury that most Venezuelans can’t afford. Many of the pipes and reservoirs have fallen into disarray – or seen their supplies drastically diminished – the military is stepping in to take charge of the “equitable distribution” of what little remains. As part of the government’s socialist policy program, the cost of water is supposed to be subsidized – at least in theory. But with the state-owned water utility, known as Hidrocapital, has effectively abdicated its responsibilities, the military is increasingly stepping in, commandeering trucks and vans used by private individuals who have tried to step in and service parts of the capital, according to a Bloombergreport.

Venezuela’s military has come to oversee the desperate and lucrative water trade as reservoirs empty, broken pipes flood neighborhoods and overwhelmed personnel walk out. Seven major access points in the capital of 5.5 million people are now run by soldiers or police, who also took total control of all public and private water trucks. Unofficially, soldiers direct where drivers deliver — and make them give away the goods at favored addresses.

Rigoberto Sanchez, who runs a water tanker that ferries water from the El Paraiso water-filling station in Caracas to an array of customers in the city, says his No. 1 business hazard is being intercepted by the military.

Those who want more must pay. Private tankers like Sanchez had been filling up and reselling water for many times its worth. Then, military personnel were deployed to the capital’s water points in May in an emergency supply plan.

The El Paraiso station is blocks from El Guaire, a filthy river carrying sewer water that the late President Hugo Chavez pledged to clean enough for a swim back in 2005. Even before the sun heats the muddy waters, the scent is putrid. It is untreated. Unpotable and drinking water must come from elsewhere.

Depending on driving distance from the water point, Sanchez charges about 18 million bolivars to fill an average residential building’s tank. For bigger jobs he can charge up to 50 million. While that’s just $17 at black-market exchange rates, compares that to a month’s minimum wage of about $1.

Recently, Sanchez has a new expense: Military officers have begun commandeering trucks, according to a dozen water providers in Caracas. Drivers are forced to go wherever officers tell them without the expectation of pay. Sometimes they’re led to government buildings, others to military residences or private homes. In other cases, soldiers simply block access to springs and wells. At a filling station near a large park in Eastern Caracas, a lock had been placed on the water lever.

[…]

“They hijack our trucks, just like that,” said Sanchez, leaning on a rusty railing. “Once that happens, you’re in their hands, you have to drive the truck wherever they want you to.”

President Nicolas Maduro last month appointed Evelyn Vasquez, a Hidrocapital official, as the head of a new water ministry. But Norberto Bausson, who ran the utility back in the 1990s, said that “institutional incompetence” is risking a “disaster” should Venezuela have a exceptionally dry year. Already, the utility sometimes cuts service int he capital for as long as two days at a stretch.

Three

People in Caracas, who on average only have access to water for 30 minutes every morning and night, frequently rush home from work and social gatherings to shower or collect water, racing against the clock before supplies are once again shut off. And while the situation in Caracas is dire, circumstances are even worse for poor Venezuelans living in the more remote provinces. To wit, a report from charity Caritas recently revealed that only 27% of poor Venezuelans have continuous access to safe drinking water. 65% have access for three days a week or less, while in the state of Miranda, not a single poor family has access for more than three days a week.

VZ

These shortages have made gathering the day’s supply of water a tedious part of the morning routine for many families.

When water makes a rare appearance at Odalys Duque’s two-bedroom home, it’s usually at dawn and wakes her with a rattle at the bottom of a plastic drum. She then has to rush to align buckets, bins and pots in hopes of gathering every drop for her husband and two small children.

In mid June they’d had none for three weeks. Instead, they survived on what was left in a roof tank and what her husband could carry in paint buckets strapped on his shoulders from a well at the bottom of the sprawling hillside slum of Petare.

“It’s an ugly situation that keeps getting uglier,” said Duque, 32. “The little one cries when I pour the bucket of cold water on him, but at least we still get something. My family that lives higher up the mountain hasn’t had water in months.”

[…]

The situation governs much of Duque’s life. For drinking water, she waits for particles to settle at the bottom of plastic buckets and then pours the surface water into a pot where she boils it at least half an hour. For laundry, she’ll wash several loads of clothes and linens in the same dirty water.

Elderly people and children from neighborhoods even higher up the mountain knock on her door asking for water. “I always give them something, even if it’s just a glass,” she said.

The lack of access to clean water, as horrifying as it sounds in Latin America’s socialist paradise, is perhaps even more galling because of the $500 million in loans the country has received over the past decade from the Latin American Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to upgrade its water-treatment infrastructure. Unfortunately for the people of Venezuela, none of it appears to have helped.

While water shortages threaten the population with malnutrition and other diseases as people are forced to drink unclean or non-potable water just to survive, Bloomberg recently pointed out another shocking development: The cost of a single cup of coffee in Caracas has eclipsed one million bolivars (equal to about 29 US cents) That’s about one-third of the average monthly wage in the country, which has slipped to roughly $1 thanks to the government’s frantic money printing.

Coffee

+++ V.I. (BBG) OPEC Can Live With Tweets So Long as Venezuela Worsens: Gadfly

(BBG) Pushing oil prices higher is risky when the cartel no longer holds all the cards.

Mine, for what it’s worth, would have something to do with the fact that gasoline is already north of $3 a gallon in Washington, D.C., and the sun only just came out on the East Coast after a winter worthy of Game of Thrones. The prospect of an even more expensive summer driving season, leading into mid-term elections Republicans dread already, merits one or two angry tweets at least.

And while there are, of course, hundreds of thousands of Americans employed in producing oil and gas, their ranks pale somewhat against more than 212 million licensed drivers, most of whom can also vote.

In any case, the president is right in one respect: Oil prices are artificially high. That’s what restrictive commodity agreements are for. Indeed, one almost has to admire the chutzpah of OPEC ministers pushing back on the president’s assertion on Friday … on the sidelines of a meeting where they decided to continue holding barrels off the market to support prices.

OPEC, and in particular its de facto leader Saudi Arabia, is playing a risky game here by pushing for even higher oil prices (see this). And that’s partly because the Middle East no longer holds all of the wild cards in the global oil game. Washington’s unpredictability is a bigger factor than it used to be.

The president isn’t likely to tweet about this, of course, but uncertainty about what will happen with the Iran nuclear agreement, for example, is one factor pushing up prices. Another is Venezuela.

It is shocking how much of OPEC’s success in clearing the glut of oil inventories is owed to the misery of one of its founding members. In March, compliance among the original 11 members who signed up for cuts in November 2016 was very high, at 170 percent. Within that, though, Venezuela’s was more than 600 percent.

The real story lies in the cumulative numbers.

In theory, these 11 countries should have collectively withheld about 530 million barrels from the market from January 2017 through the end of last month, of which Venezuela should have accounted for about 8 percent. According to OPEC’s figures, however, they actually withheld 599 million barrels; and Venezuela was responsible for more than 17 percent of that bigger amount.

The past six months or so clearly marked a tipping point, coinciding with the rally in oil prices.

In absolute terms, Saudi Arabia has cut more barrels than any other member versus its baseline output — as you would expect of the largest producer by far. What is really striking, however, is the comparison of absolute outperformance; that is, how many extra barrels OPEC members have withheld over and above their targets. On that measure, Venezuela has actually moved into the, er, number one slot:

Despite Venezuela’s production having dropped by almost 550,000 barrels a day since the end of 2016, it could easily keep going down.

And one big catalyst for that could be, you guessed it, tougher sanctions from Washington. These look likely given the extreme unlikelihood of fair elections in Venezuela next month. It’s not clear what form sanctions might take. But the elevation of hawks such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo in the Trump administration suggests harsher options, such as banning U.S. imports of Venezuelan crude oil altogether, could be on the table.

As ClearView Energy Partners rightly pointed out in a recent report, such a ban might simply shift those barrels elsewhere rather than take them off the market completely — albeit likely at a discount. Still, further revenue reductions would exacerbate Venezuela’s economic pain, serving to undermine the prospects for oil production, too.

As for the president’s tweet, there’s no telling how that factors into what happens. It might betray discomfort with the idea of doing anything to push pump prices even higher over the summer. Equally, it could just be preemptive finger-pointing to direct drivers’ anger elsewhere. And, equally, it may not add up to anything substantive at all.

What is clear is that supply squeezes, both planned and unplanned, are now an essential element of the oil rally. That’s why OPEC can’t bring itself to end its cuts, and also why it risks alienating consumers everywhere, not just on Pennsylvania Avenue.

(Reuters) Venezuela to sell petro cryptocurrency via Dicom forex system

…What a scam…! …These guys are in the front line of schemes to rob the Venezuelans and others living in Venezuela! …And Venezuela has one the largest oil reserves in the World… What a disgrace!

FCMP

(Reuters) The Venezuela government will start auctioning its new petro cryptocurrency to private companies via its Dicom foreign exchange platform in a few weeks, Vice President Tareck El Aissami said on Tuesday.

The OPEC country last month began selling the new digital token, which President Nicolas Maduro has said will be backed by oil reserves, in a private sale to investors. Maduro says the petro will help skirt U.S. financial sanctions.

Opposition critics call the petro an illegal debt issue, and the U.S. Treasury Department has warned that it may violate sanctions and thus constitutes a legal risk for investors.

“The petro is going to be auctioned on Dicom,” El Aissami said in a meeting with businessmen broadcast on state television, adding that companies will be able to use petros to pay for imports of raw materials.

 

“The petro is going to be our powerful international currency, above the dollar.”

It is not immediately evident if and how the petro can function as foreign currency or how it would help Venezuelan businesses with international commerce transactions.

Foreign companies are unlikely to accept it as payment given the legal doubts surrounding it, and few investors have publicly announced having purchased it.

El Aissami also called on local banks to buy the petro at a discount during the preliminary phase, which ends on March 20.

During this phase, petros can be acquired with “dollars, euros or any other currency,” he said, and may be held by banks as assets on their balance sheets.

(Reuters) Exclusive: U.S. mulls sanctions on Venezuela to put pressure on Maduro

(Reuters) The Trump administration is considering sanctioning a Venezuelan military-run oil services company and restricting insurance coverage for Venezuelan oil shipments to ratchet up pressure on socialist President Nicolas Maduro, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

With Maduro running for another term in an April election that Washington and its allies oppose as a sham, the United States is weighing sanctions that would target Venezuela’s vital oil sector beyond what has been done before, the official told Reuters. Some measures could come before the vote and others could be imposed afterwards.

The official, who is close to U.S. internal deliberations on Venezuela policy and spoke on condition of anonymity, would not rule out an eventual full-scale ban on Venezuelan oil shipments to the United States, among the toughest of oil-related sanctions.

“I think (it would cause) a fairly strong shock to the oil market in the short term,” the official said.

The official stressed that no decisions have been made and that any U.S. action would take into consideration potential harm to ordinary Venezuelans, already suffering from food shortages and hyperinflation, and the country’s neighbors as well as the impact on the U.S. oil industry and American consumers.

Venezuela was the fourth largest supplier of crude oil and products to the United States in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Its crude oil sales to the United States last year were the lowest since 1991, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data.

“Oil sanctions are not taken lightly,” the official said. “This would be a fairly strong escalation for U.S. policy, whether it’s a complete oil sanction or salami slices of different graduated steps.”

The administration of President Donald Trump is also weighing possible sanctions against additional senior military and political figures, including Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello, the official said.

Experts say individual sanctions have had little or no impact on the Venezuelan government’s policies. Maduro, himself sanctioned last year, regularly laughs off Washington’s disapproval and blames the U.S. “empire” for Venezuela’s economic woes.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on potential further sanctions.

Washington’s crafting of new sanctions comes as Venezuela’s opposition coalition is boycotting the April 22 election, citing “fraudulent” conditions including a ban on its top two candidates from running.

Even if Venezuelan authorities delay the election by a month or two, the official said, that likely would not prompt the U.S. administration to hold back on sanctions.

ECONOMIC PAIN

The best tool for making the Venezuelan government feel economic pain, U.S. government sources say, is through “sectoral” sanctions, such as financial measures announced in August that barred U.S. banks from any new debt deals with Venezuelan authorities or state-run oil giant PDVSA.

Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said in Geneva on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions are making foreign debt renegotiation more difficult and causing “panic” at global banks.

New sanctions under consideration, according to the administration official, would be intended to “to make the world a little smaller for these corrupt officials.”

Among the possible new U.S. targets is Camimpeg, Venezuela’s military-run oil services firm, the official said. With Maduro’s approval, Venezuela’s powerful military in 2016 founded Camimpeg, which is geared to providing PDVSA with assistance in drilling, logistics and security.

Little is known about Camimpeg’s activities. The opposition says the armed forces are a nest of corruption and the unpopular Maduro has sought to buy the support of military chiefs by giving them increasing control of the OPEC nation’s crude reserves, the world’s largest.

Another option would be sanctions aimed at putting restrictions on insurance coverage for oil tankers and oil cargos involving PDVSA, the official said.

Oil exports are typically protected by insurance on tankers as well as on the actual cargo. Without insurance, a vessel cannot navigate in international waters, which means Venezuela’s oil exports would likely be curtailed. Sanctions on cargo insurance would also hurt because PDVSA has a limited tanker fleet.

In addition, the Trump administration is continuing to consider blocking the sale of lighter U.S. crude and refined products that Venezuela mixes with its heavy crude and then exports, the official told Reuters.

”There’s a host of additional sanctions that could be imposed. The president has all those before him,” said U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who has played a key role in pushing for Trump’s more assertive approach to Venezuela than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“The goal here is to continue to pressure an illegitimate regime so that they would leave power or be removed from power,” Rubio told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

(BBC) Venezuela’s Maduro wants ‘mega-election’ amid opposition boycott

(BBC)

MaduroImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMr Maduro said the vote would go ahead “with or without the opposition”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has proposed holding a “mega-election” after the opposition coalition said it would boycott a planned presidential poll in April.

Mr Maduro said he wanted to add legislative, state and municipal votes to provide “democratic renewal”.

Opposition parties say the presidential election will be “fraudulent and illegitimate”.

Venezuela is going through a protracted political and economic crisis.

It has suffered for years from high inflation and the chronic shortage of food and medicines.

Mr Maduro said elections would be held “with or without” the Democratic Unity opposition coalition, which he accused of “erratic conduct”.

“A great parliamentary mega-election in the country, I am proposing it officially to the National Constituent Assembly for its consideration and let’s go for some powerful, powerful elections for a democratic renewal of the country,” he said.

He said he wanted to bring forward other elections to “leave 4 years clear [of elections] at least”.

In a statement, the Democratic Unity coalition said April’s election was “premature” and called for the government to hold “real elections” later in the year.

The opposition’s decision not to take part comes after weeks of wrangling following the decision of the National Constituent Assembly – a superbody which can overrule all other branches of government – to bring forward the presidential election from December.

The constituent assembly is exclusively made up of government supporters. The opposition accused it of changing the date to take advantage of divisions within the opposition coalition.

Its two strongest presidential candidates are both blocked from standing against Mr Maduro.

Leopoldo Lopez remains under house arrest and Henrique Capriles is barred from office over misconduct allegations from his time as a state governor.

Other charismatic opposition leaders have left the country for fear of arrest.

Meanwhile the country’s national election board, which supports Mr Maduro’s government, has banned the Democratic Unity coalition and some of the main parties in it from using their official names in the election.

(ECO) Venezuela deve 40 milhões às fornecedoras portuguesas de pernil

(ECOA acusação é feita pela Raporal, depois do presidente venezuelano ter afirmado que Portugal sabotou a importação de pernil de porco para o seu país.

A empresa agroalimentar Raporal informou que a Venezuela deve cerca de 40 milhões de euros às empresas portuguesas fornecedoras de pernil de porcoàquele país, dos quais 6,9 milhões lhe são devidos.

O presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, acusou Portugal de sabotar a importação de pernil de porco, depois de Caracas ter feito um plano de importação e acertado os pagamentos. Em resposta, a Raporal informou que a Agrovarius, do grupo Iguarivarius, vendeu, em 2016, ao Governo venezuelano 14 mil toneladas de carne pelo valor de 63,5 milhões de euros e que, para cumprir o negócio, “a Agrovarius contratualizou com várias empresas, entre elas a Raporal, esse fornecimento”.

“Ainda permanece pendente de pagamento cerca de 40 milhões de euros, dos quais 6,9 milhões de euros dizem respeito ao cumprimento do pagamento à Raporal”

Raporal

A Raporal indicou que, deste contrato que data do ano passado, “ainda permanece pendente de pagamento cerca de 40 milhões de euros, dos quais 6,9 milhões de euros dizem respeito ao cumprimento do pagamento à Raporal”, que tem recebido “de forma parcelar” valores a abater na conta corrente referente a este contrato, tendo o último pagamento ocorrido em agosto deste ano.

A empresa agroalimentar, que não realizou qualquer fornecimento ao governo venezuelano em 2017, refere também que “foi recebida esta manhã pelo Embaixador da Venezuela em Lisboa“, que “se comprometeu, em nome da Venezuela, a realizar o pagamento integral em falta referente ao fornecimento de 2016, até março de 2018″.

Assim, a Raporal garante que “não tem conhecimento de qualquer ato de sabotagem de Portugal em relação ao fornecimento de pernil de porco à Venezuela” e sublinha que “é a Venezuela que não tem cumprido pontualmente as suas obrigações de pagamento dos fornecimentos realizados em 2016”.

Portugal é uma economia de mercado. O Governo não participa nas exportações que as empresas portuguesas contratam com empresas estrangeiras e, portanto, não há lugar a nenhuma espécie de interferência política.

Augusto Santos Silva

Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros

Os venezuelanos voltaram a protestar contra o Governo do Presidente Nicolás Maduro pelo incumprimento da promessa de distribuir pernil de porco na época do Natal, reclamando que também não terão aquele e outros produtos no fim de ano.

O ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros português rejeitou a acusação de sabotagem à venda de carne de porco à Venezuela, frisando que Portugal é uma economia de mercado em que o Governo não interfere nas relações entre empresas.

Portugal é uma economia de mercado. O Governo não participa nas exportações que as empresas portuguesas contratam com empresas estrangeiras e, portanto, não há lugar a nenhuma espécie de interferência política, muito menos a qualquer intento de sabotagem do governo português”, disse Augusto Santos Silva.

O ministro disse estar ainda a recolher informações sobre o caso, admitindo ter havido “um problema comercial”, mas disse dispor já de dados que apontam para que a carne tenha sido de facto exportada tendo falhado possivelmente a sua distribuição na Venezuela.

(DN) População reclama nas ruas pernil para passagem de ano e culpa Maduro

(DN)

Protestos em Caracas

As explicações do presidente, culpando Portugal e os EUA, não convencem muitos venezuelanos

Os venezuelanos voltaram esta quinta-feira a protestar contra o Governo do Presidente Nicolás Maduro, pelo incumprimento da promessa de distribuir pernil de porco na época do Natal, reclamando que também não terão aquele e outros produtos no fim de ano.

Os protestos que decorrem na Avenida Vitória de Caracas e na estrada que liga a capital a El Junquito (sul) têm lugar depois de, quinta-feira, o Presidente Nicolás Maduro, ter acusado os Estados Unidos e Portugal de sabotarem a importação de pernil de porco para o Natal.

“Não foi só o pernil, também outros produtos, que não chegaram. Prometeram-nos as bolsas CLAP (alimentos a preços subsidiados) mas só chegaram a alguns sítios. Estamos necessitando dessas coisas porque tudo está tão caro que não podemos comprar. Comprando 1,5 quilogramas de porco ficamos sem salário e não temos com que manter a família”, explicou uma manifestante à Agência Lusa.

Entre dezenas de manifestantes, Yohandra Ocanto, 25 anos, olhava fixamente um grupo de funcionários da Polícia Nacional Bolívariana que se encontravam a escassos 200 metros e a outros cidadãos, que com troncos de árvore e lixo bloquearam a Avenida Vitória, perto de El Cementério, um populoso bairro pobre venezuelano.

“Imagine quem tem três ou quatro crianças para alimentar o que está a sofrer” exclamou.

Cristian Velásquez, 35 anos, juntou-se aos protesto porque “os políticos vivem outra realidade”, diferente da dos venezuelanos que “passam por dificuldades para conseguir comer todos os dias”.

“Estamos dececionados. Não houve pernil no Natal, mas também não haverá para a passagem de ano. Há uns 15 dias passaram pedindo para votar, prometeram bolsas CLAP e já sabiam que não havia suficientes (para distribuir)”, disse.

Segundo este venezuelano e relativamente às acusações feitas por Maduro, “Portugal têm-se mantido à margem dos conflitos que temos tido e tem feito acordos, obras, habitações sociais e enviado alimentos” pelo que responsabilizou o Governo da Venezuela pela falta de alimentos, entre eles o pernil porque havia “problemas já de antes e sabiam”.

“Todos temos um amigo português ou conhecemos alguém que tem. Os lusitanos, aqui, são muitos e muitas vezes é o português do ‘abastos’ (mercearia) que nos fia, quando não temos dinheiros suficiente e quando não cobramos a quinzena (salário quinzenal)”, frisou.

O Presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, acusou Portugal, quinta-feira, de sabotar a importação de pernil de porco, depois de Caracas ter feito um plano de importação e acertado os pagamentos.

Segundo Nicolás Maduro os barcos que transportavam o pernil foram perseguidos e as contas bancárias foram bloqueadas.

Por outro lado o vice-presidente do Partido Socialista Unido da Venezuela (PSUV, o partido do Governo), Diosdado Cabello, acusou hoje os portugueses de se terem assustado, pressionados pelos norte-americanos.

O ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros português rejeitou a acusação de sabotagem à venda de carne de porco à Venezuela, frisando que Portugal é uma economia de mercado em que o governo não interfere nas relações entre empresas.

“Portugal é uma economia de mercado, o governo não participa nas exportações que as empresas portuguesas contratam com empresas estrangeiras e, portanto, não há lugar a nenhuma espécie de interferência política, muito menos a qualquer intento de sabotagem do governo português”, disse Augusto Santos Silva.

O ministro disse estar ainda a recolher informações sobre o caso, admitindo ter havido “um problema comercial”, mas disse dispor já de dados que apontam para que a carne tenha sido de facto exportada tendo falhado possivelmente a sua distribuição na Venezuela.

M.P.O. (BBG) Maduro Says Portugal Sabotaged Venezuelans’ Christmas Pork

M.P.O.

Give us a break!

President Maduro is unfit to speak on anything at all.

Actually he does not even know how to speak…

As per the numerous idiocies he has said in public…

Most of them are difficult to translate.

But he has said on an official visit from a Portuguese Government delegation that “Venezuela and Portugal were on the same Continent…”

Please go to YouTube and see “Nicolas maduro y sus disparates”

And also in YouTube

TOP 10 The biggest stupidities of mature 2017 (JUNE)

And also in YouTube

Top 10 Burradas Memorables de Nicolás Maduro

This site has published many articles on Venezuela, and I have writen several Personal Opinions on that Country.

On July 28, 2017 the prestigious and respected Economist has published (Economist) The mess one Marxist makes: Nicolás Maduro tries to make thugocracy permanent in Venezuela

On August 1, 2017 Bloomberg has published an Editorial,(BBG) Editorial Board: Venezuela Abandons Any Claim to Democracy.

On August 7, 2017 (CNBC) Mercosur suspends Venezuela as Maduro’s new superbody ousts top prosecutor

I have writen on December 21, 2017 O.P. (DN) Venezuela: Nova lei impede participação de partidos nas presidenciais de 2018

I have writen on November 3,2017 +++ O.P. (JN) Nicolás Maduro ordena reestruturação e refinanciamento da dívida

Need I say more…?

Venezuela is widely recognized as a failed State.

It has the highest crime rate in the World.

Most international publications depict Venezuela as efectively ruled by “thugs”.
(Economist thugocracy).

I rest my case.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(Bloomberg) — President Nicolas Maduro, speaking on state
television, said ships loaded with government-bought pork
shoulder, a holiday delicacy, meant to be distributed to
Venezuelans in time for Christmas were “pursued” on their way to
the South American country.
* Maduro: Govt fulfilled Christmas plans, which included special
holiday subsidies to Venezuelans, toys, parties
* “What happened with the pork shoulder? They sabotaged us. They
sabotaged us. I can name one country: Portugal. It was all set.
We bought all the pork shoulder in Venezuela. All of it. But we
had to import. I gave the order and signed the payments. But
they went after the bank accounts. The two gigantic boats that
were on their way were pursued. And they sabotaged us for now,”
Maduro said
* “What they don’t know is that with or without sabotage, no one
took away the happiness of Christmas from this people nor will
anyone take from us the happiness of New Year’s Eve,” Maduro
said
* Maduro: “Everything we say we must fulfill. And when we can’t,
we must say it wasn’t possible because of this and that”
* NOTE: From Dec. 26, Venezuelan Holiday Treat Is Prohibitive as
Prices Rise
* NOTE: From Dec. 21, Venezuela’s Crumbling Economy Revealed in
2016 SEC Filing
* NOTE: From Dec. 21, Venezuelan Christmas Priced in Dollars as
Inflation Grips Nation

O.P. (DN) Venezuela: Nova lei impede participação de partidos nas presidenciais de 2018

O.P.

E qual é a vigarice que se segue…?

É preciso entender que o Presidente Maduro nem falar sabe…

E que paga às Forças Armadas salários principescos para garantir o seu apoio…

Enquanto esta situação se mantiver os Venezuelanos e os Estrangeiros residentes na Venezuela continuarão a sofrer e a Venezuela a se afundar no abismo que ela própria criou.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(DN) A Assembleia Constituinte da Venezuela (AC), composta na totalidade por simpatizantes do regime, aprovou na quarta-feira um decreto que impede os partidos políticos que boicotaram as últimas eleições de participarem nas presidenciais de 2018.

O decreto para a validação de partidos políticos obriga os movimentos que não participaram nas eleições de 10 de dezembro a iniciar um processo de revalidação junto do Conselho Nacional Eleitoral (CNE), caso contrário ficarão impedidos de participar nas presidenciais, previstas para 2018.

O decreto implica a interdição de participação em atos eleitorais de três grandes partidos – Ação Democrática, Vontade Popular e Primeiro Justiça -, mas também movimentos mais pequenos, como o Nova Ordem Social, presidido pela lusodescendente Venezuela Portuguesa da Silva.

Estes partitos boicotaram o escrutínio de dezembro por acreditar que não existiam garantias eleitorais e por falta de confiança no CNE.

No texto aprovado lê-se que “as organizações políticas, para participar em processos eleitorais nacionais, regionais ou municipais, devem ter participado nas eleições do período constitucional de âmbito nacional, regional ou municipal, imediatamente anterior”.

A 11 de dezembro último, o Presidente da Venezuela anunciou que os partidos que não participaram nas eleições municipais da véspera e apelaram à abstenção estavam impedidos de participar nas próximas presidenciais.

“Vontade Popular e Primeiro Justiça [dois dos principais partidos opositores] desaparecem do mapa político venezuelano porque não participaram [nas eleições] e pediram um boicote das eleições. Não podem participar mais. Esse é o critério da Assembleia Constituinte e eu, como chefe de Estado de um poder constituído, apoio”, disse.

Nicolás Maduro falava aos jornalistas, em Caracas, durante as eleições de 10 de dezembro, em que 1.568 candidatos, a maioria deles ligados ao regime, se candidataram à liderança de 335 câmaras municipais, durante os próximos quatro anos.

Por outro lado, a presidente da AC, Delcy Rodríguez, indicou que a assembleia estava “a avaliar os mecanismos para preservar o sistema partidário da participação política na Venezuela” e que “muito em breve” daria “a conhecer a vontade do plenário”.

Em dezembro último, o CNE autorizou 13 dos 59 partidos políticos venezuelanos a registar candidatos para as eleições autárquicas.

As outras formações não foram autorizadas a candidatar-se por não terem completado um polémico processo de revalidação dos partidos políticos, realizado pelo CNE em fevereiro passado.

(BBG) Next Venezuela Bond Maturity Gives Maduro a Nine-Month Runway

(BBG) With the nearest debt maturity not until Aug. 15, Venezuela
President Nicolas Maduro now has a nine-month runway — if he
continues to make interest payments — to successfully work
through a process that may also involve a presidential election.
Recognizing that restructuring Venezuela’s and PDVSA’s massive
external debt is likely impossible with U.S. sanctions in place,
the timing of Maduro’s request for relief by calling on
creditors to renegotiate borrowing terms isn’t entirely a
surprise.

(Daily Sabah) Venezuela reaches debt structuring deal with Russia amid debt crisis

(Daily Sabah)

People queue to withdraw money from an ATM in Caracas on Nov. 14, 2017, as Venezuela declares selective default. (AFP Photo)

People queue to withdraw money from an ATM in Caracas on Nov. 14, 2017, as Venezuela declares selective default. (AFP Photo)

Accordingly, Venezuela will pay $3.15 billion over a 10-year period. Debt repayments would be minimal in the first six years, the ministry said.

Venezuela borrowed from Russia in late 2011 to finance the purchase of Russian arms, but failed to keep up with payments on the debt in 2016 as the South American state faced a full-blown economic and financial crisis.

The country is seeking to restructure its foreign debts, estimated at around $150 billion, after it was hit hard by tumbling oil prices and American sanctions.

The details of the deal are set to be made public at a press conference at the Venezuelan embassy attended by the country’s finance minister Simon Zerpa.

S&P Global Ratings meanwhile said it had placed Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA in “selective default” after it failed to make its interest payments on some of its debt.

The ratings agency this week declared the country itself in selective default after it failed to make $200 million in payments on two global bond issues.

Fitch also downgraded PDVSA and cash-strapped Venezuela over delayed payments, but Caracas insisted it was in the process of paying up.

Moscow and Caracas have been negotiating for months the terms of the deal.

Anton Tabakh, chief economist at the RAEX rating agency, said it was “normal” that Moscow was continuing to restructure Caracas’s debts.

The move allows “both parties to save face and gain time, because now the issue of Venezuelan debt simply cannot be resolved, even formally,” he told AFP.

Caracas has only $9.7 billion in foreign reserves and needs to pay back at least $1.47 billion in interest on various bonds by the end of the year, and then about $8 billion in 2018.

Russia and China are the two main creditors and allies of Venezuela, which owes them a total of $8 billion and $28 billion respectively.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday expressed confidence Caracas could “properly handle” its debt crisis, adding that financial cooperation was “proceeding normally”.

Food and medicine shortages

In response to the downgrading from ratings agencies, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Venezuela was already catching up on the payments.

“Today, we have begun interest payments on Venezuela’s foreign debt and last week, PDVSA made its debt interest payments,” he said on state television Tuesday.

“We pay our debts, despite what the ratings agencies, the US Treasury, the European Union or (US President) Donald Trump say.”

A committee of 15 financial firms meeting in New York meanwhile put off a decision for a third straight day on whether to declare a “Failure to Pay Credit Event” at PDVSA.

They will reconvene Thursday to determine whether holders of PDVSA debt with default insurance — credit default swaps — can collect payment.

PDVSA is vulnerable to creditors potentially moving to seize crude shipments or refinery assets abroad, particularly from its U.S. subsidiary Citgo.

If a selective default spreads to other bond issues, particularly the nation’s sovereign debt, the South American country would likely be declared in full default.

A full default — recognition that Venezuela is unable to repay its massive debt — would have enormous consequences for the country, whose population is already suffering severe food and medicine shortages because of a lack of money to import them.

‘Violent narco-state’

President Nicolas Maduro has formed a commission to restructure Venezuela’s sovereign debt and PDVSA’s.

But participants in a first meeting in Caracas on Monday said officials had given no concrete details on its plans.

A default can be declared by the major ratings agencies, big debt holders or the government itself.

Maduro is also under fire internationally for marginalizing the opposition, which controls the legislature, and stifling independent media.

The U.S. called an informal meeting of the UN Security Council, where US Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed Venezuela as an “increasingly violent narco-state” that poses a threat to world security.

Permanent council members Russia and China boycotted the talks.

Venezuela’s envoy to the UN, Rafael Ramirez, called the meeting a “hostile” act of U.S. “interference.”

+++ O.P. (JN) Nicolás Maduro ordena reestruturação e refinanciamento da dívida

O.P.

…Nem vale a pena comentar a “reestruturação” por ser tão evidente…

…É evidentemente um calote…

…Quanto ao actual regime é uma desgraça que se abateu sobre o povo venezuelano e sobre todos os estrangeiros, nomeadamente Portugueses, que residem na Venezuela.

…A Venezuela é classificada como um Estado falhado.

…Quanto ao actual responsável não se percebe como é que um homem que diz tantas bestialidades chegou aquele cargo…

…É que não há discurso em que não diga disparates totais como:

…”milímetros de segundo…”

…”Vamos distribuir trinta e cinco millones de libros e de libras…”

…”Se cultiva pollo, nó?”

…”Portugal e a Venezuela estão no mesmo continente…”

…”victimas del capitalismo que roba tanto como nós outros…”

…A lista dos disparates é infindável.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(JNO presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, anunciou na quinta-feira que ordenou o pagamento dos títulos de dívida de 2017 da empresa petrolífera estatal, assim como a reestruturação e refinanciamento da dívida externa venezuelana.

Nicolás Maduro ordena reestruturação e refinanciamento da dívida externa da Venezuela

“Amanhã [sexta-feira] temos que pagar 1,12 mil milhões de dólares (1,03 mil milhões de euros) de títulos de Petróleos da Venezuela SA 2017. Ordenei que à primeira hora de sexta-feira se inicie o pagamento e decreto, a partir desse dia, um refinanciamento da dívida externa da Venezuela”, disse.

O anúncio teve lugar no passeio Los Próceres, junto do principal forte militar de Caracas, tendo sido transmitido em simultâneo e de maneira obrigatória pelas rádios e televisões do país. “Vamos fazer uma reformulação completa de todos os pagamentos externos, para dar um equilibro e cumprir com todos os compromissos do país”, frisou Nicolás Maduro (na foto).

Por outro lado precisou que a Venezuela pagou, na semana passada, 841 milhões de dólares (721 milhões de euros) de dívida externa. “Tenho o dinheiro. Assim como tenho o dinheiro que necessitamos para as importações de alimentos (…) a nossa intenção é continuar cumprindo internacionalmente, mas a nossa intenção é que cesse a perseguição financeira dos bancos internacionais contra a Venezuela”, disse.

Nicolás Maduro anunciou ainda que nomeou uma comissão especial para o refinanciamento da dívida, que está presidida pelo vice-presidente executivo, Tareck El Aissami, a quem deu instruções para convocar todos os bancos e portados de títulos de dívida.

A Constituição da Venezuela estabelece que uma reestruturação da dívida externa do país deve ser aprovada pela Assembleia Nacional (parlamento), onde a oposição detém a maioria.

(Newsweek) VENEZUELA PREPARES FOR WAR WITH U.S. WITH ‘RIFLES, MISSILES AND WELL-OILED TANKS AT THE READY’

(Newsweek) Why Have Chad, Venezuela And North Korea Been Added To Trump’s Travel Ban?

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro called on his nation’s military leaders Tuesday to prepare for war against the U.S. days after the Trump administration banned Venezuelan officials from entering the nation. 

“We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace,” said Maduro, who wore a green uniform and a military hat as he spoke with his army top brass during a military exercise involving tanks and missiles. “We need to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready….to defend every inch of the territory if needs be,” he added.

The Trump administration has taken a hard stance against Maduro’s regime by banning money lending to Venezuela’s government or its state oil company PDVSA, and passing sanctions against Maduro and his top officials.

Maduro referenced the sanctions during his speech at the military base. As he spoke, Russian military plans flew in the sky as part of the training exercise, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The future of humanity cannot be the world of illegal sanctions, of economic persecution,” Maduro said.

It’s unlikely Maduro has the manpower to stand up to the U.S., which has a much larger military. Maduro has maintained power in Venezuela despite mounting political and economic crises that has seen months of violent, anti-government demonstrations across the South American nation. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino has backed Maduro during the upheaval, but some critics have begun a whisper campaign suggesting that the military could break away and support a coup against the president, Herbert Garcia, a former senior army general and minister, told Reuters in August. There have been three attempted military coups in Venezuela since 1992.

Russia has defended Maduro in recent months, going so far as to accuse Trump of preparing for an invasion of Caracas. “We are strongly against unilateral sanctions against sovereign states,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in August. “We will carefully analyze the implications of the sanctions imposed by the United States, and their possible effect on the interests of Russia and Russian businesses. We can already say that they will not affect our willingness to expand and strengthen cooperation with the friendly nation of Venezuela and its people.”

President Donald Trump directed his penchant for insulting world leaders toward Venezuela during a United Nations speech earlier this month. He said Washington could intervene in Venezuela to help its citizens “recover their country”

“We cannot stand by and watch,” he said.

Maduro oversaw a disputed election earlier this year to muzzle the elected national assembly by creating “constituent assembly” in its place.

(Reuters) Venezuela publishes oil prices in Chinese currency for first time

(Reuters) Venezuela on Friday published the price of its oil and fuel in Chinese currency for the first time, following President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement that the government would ease off the U.S. dollar in response to sanctions by the United States.

Maduro last week said his government would shun the dollar after Washington blocked Americans from certain financial dealings with Venezuela on charges it is undermining democracy.

“As of the current week, the average price for Venezuelan (oil and fuel) will be listed in Chinese yuan,” said a footnote to the table of prices published each Friday by the Oil Ministry.

The global oil industry overwhelmingly uses the dollar for pricing of products.

Venezuela’s yuan-based prices appear to be the result of multiplying dollar prices by the dollar/yuan exchange rate .

The price for the week ending Friday was 306.26 yuan, equivalent to $46.76 based on the exchange rate listed in a footnote. That is up from the previous week’s price of 300.91 yuan, or $46.15 based on the corresponding exchange rate.

The ministry did not immediately respond to an email seeking additional details.

Venezuela’s Dicom currency system on Wednesday temporarily suspended the sale of dollars in order to incorporate other currencies.

Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez during his 14-year rule repeatedly vowed to back away from the dollar, which he said was being printed indiscriminately and was destined to lose its place as the world’s dominant currency.

But Venezuela remains dependent on the greenback given that it conducts ample commercial trade with the United States both through exports of oil and imports of U.S. food and consumer products.

Sanctions by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump blocked U.S. citizens from buying new debt from Venezuela or its state oil company, but did not directly interrupt import and export operations.

(Reuters) Venezuela says it will make debt payments despite ‘difficulties’

(Reuters) Venezuela will make all pending debt payments despite “a series of difficulties” that have arisen as a result of financial sanctions by the United States, Economy Vice President Ramon Lobo said on Thursday.

The United States in August prohibited dealings in new debt from Venezuela and state oil company PDVSA in response to the creation of a new legislative superbody that critics call the consolidation of a dictatorship.

The sanctions did not block banks from serving as intermediaries in debt payments, but the government of President Nicolas Maduro has said they are interfering with the country’s finances and threatening to lead it toward default.

“We are going to meet our commitments. We have come across a series of difficulties, but that will not stop us,” Lobo said in a news conference. “There is an order to impose a financial blockade so as to put us in a situation of insolvency, which is completely out of the question.”

He did not offer details.

Financial institutions have in recent years grown wary of doing business with Venezuela even before recent sanctions, due to concern that Venezuelan funds might be associated with money laundering and drug trafficking, and a growing risk of debt default.

PDVSA and its U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum are facing difficulties in obtaining the letters of credit needed to export and import oil cargoes on the spot market.

Even though banks have maintained some existing contracts to provide paying agent services on Venezuela and PDVSA bonds, the company has switched to other banks to secure debt service payments for certain bonds.

Asked about media reports that PDVSA is selling oil in euros rather than dollars in response to sanctions, Lobo said the company “has been working on that for some time.”

PDVSA has asked some partners in joint ventures to change the preferred currency for routine transactions to euros instead of dollars, two traders from companies operating in Venezuela said on Thursday. The talks have not yet led to modifications in the contracts.

In 2008 PDVSA said it had started using the euro for some sales. But its impact was very limited as most long-term contracts signed by the company use the dollar, even in the price formulas.

The country’s deep economic crisis and flailing socialist economy have spurred concerns about default, leaving its bonds heavily discounted. Maduro said that Venezuela has never missed a debt payment under the ruling party.

+++ O.P./P.O. (JN) ONU sustenta que podem ter sido cometidos “crimes contra a humanidade” na Venezuela

O.P.

…Pois…

…Finalmente abriram os olhos ao que parece ser uma evidência…

…Nem percebo como é que possam não ter sido cometidos Crimes contra a            Humanidade…

…Desde a Senhora Procuradora Geral da República ao Parlamente, passando pelos
   Tribunais, já foi tudo atacado…

…Os líderes da Oposição são sistematicamente presos, as decisões do Parlamento, que tem maioria da Oposição são ignoradas e desrespeitadas…

…Há N desaparecimentos e mortes estranhas de opositores…

…A criminalidade, que há quem sustente que é em parte fomentada, é uma das mais altas do Mundo…

…Palavras para quê…?

…Entregue se o caso ao Tribunal Internacional de Haia.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(JNO alto-comissário das Nações Unidas para os Direitos humanos, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, afirmou hoje que podem ter sido cometidos “crimes contra a humanidade” na Venezuela, no âmbito dos protestos anti-governamentais, e pediu a abertura de uma investigação internacional.

“A minha investigação sugere a possibilidade de se terem cometido crimes contra a humanidade, algo que apenas pode ser confirmado por uma investigação penal posterior”, afirmou o diplomata jordano, no seu discurso de abertura da 36.ª sessão do Conselho de Direitos Humanos.

Zeid al Hussein afirmou que apoia a criação de uma Comissão Nacional de Verdade e Reconciliação e defendeu que o modelo vigente na Venezuela “é desadequado” e deve ser revisto com o apoio da comunidade internacional.

O responsável pediu ainda ao Conselho de Direitos Humanos da ONU que realize uma “investigação internacional”.

O alto-comissário referiu que “há um perigo real” de que as tensões no país se intensifiquem mais com o Governo a “atacar as instituições democráticas e vozes críticas, incluindo através de processos penais contra líderes da oposição e recurso a detenções arbitrárias, o uso excessivo da força e maus-tratos a detidos, que em alguns casos equivalem a tortura”.

Zeid al Hussein recordou a Caracas que a Venezuela é um membro do Conselho de Direitos Humanos e que, como tal, “tem um dever particular na hora de salvaguardar os níveis mais elevados na promoção e protecção dos direitos humanos”.

O diplomata jordano fez estas observações pouco antes da intervenção do chefe da diplomacia venezuelana, Jorge Arreaza, na sessão do Conselho de Direitos Humanos e poucas semanas depois da divulgação pela agência que lidera de um relatório sobre as violações dos direitos humanos cometidas no âmbito dos protestos anti-governamentais entre 01 de Abril e 31 de Julho por parte das forças de segurança e das unidades militarizadas.

O relatório fala do uso excessivo da força, possíveis execuções extrajudiciais, maus-tratos e tortura, detenções arbitrárias, buscas ilegais e violentas em casas particulares, julgamentos militares contra civis, ataques a jornalistas e ataques e restrições a opositores.

Os protestos contra o Governo do Presidente Nicolás Maduro provocaram pelo menos 125 mortos desde Abril, de acordo com o Ministério Público venezuelano.

(BBC) HARDtalk on the road in Venezuela

(BBC As anti-government demonstrations sweep across Venezuela anger over the country’s economic and political crisis grows.
Shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies, and an inflation rate thought to have topped 1000%, have left more than 80% of Venezuelans living in poverty.
Recently opposition leaders accused President Nicolas Maduro of mounting a coup against democracy when he tried and failed to abolish the powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly. The socialist President claims that the United States and other western powers are colluding with domestic enemies of the socialist revolution.
Though foreign journalists are mostly banned from the oil rich nation, Stephen Sackur presents this special edition of HARDtalk on the road from Venezuela.

 

 

(EM) Consecuencias de las sanciones de Trump: Venezuela pierde al único cliente que le paga

(EM)

El presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.
Estados Unidos cumplió finalmente su advertencia y su presidente, Donald Trump, firmó ayer una orden ejecutiva que impone nuevas sanciones financieras a Venezuela y que afectan, por extensión, al pulmón de su economía, la petrolera estatal PDVSA. Éstas son algunas de las claves para entender qué supone esta medida:

Publicidad

¿Qué sanciones se establecen?
La Administración estadounidense prohíbe las negociaciones en deuda nueva y capital emitidas por el Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro y PDVSA, así como las negociaciones con ciertos bonos del sector público venezolano y los pagos de dividendos al Ejecutivo de Caracas.
¿Están prohibidos todos los movimientos?
No. El Departamento del Tesoro emitirá licencias con un periodo de liquidación de 30 días para permitir transacciones, principalmente las vinculadas con la compra y venta del petróleo, que vertebran las relaciones comerciales de ambos países.
¿Por qué apunta también a PDVSA?
PDVSA es la petrolera estatal y el principal sustento de la economía venezolana; limitar la compra en sus emisiones de deuda supone ‘disparar’ directamente contra el régimen. La compañía es la principal fuente de ingresos para el país a través de sus exportaciones de petróleo: una parte de ese dinero sufraga las importaciones y los programas sociales creados por Hugo Chávez y otra parte se destina a afrontar las deudas con el exterior.Los problemas técnicos de sus instalaciones, la bajada del precio del petróleo y el descenso de la producción han incrementado sus necesidades de emitir deuda para obtener financiación, de ahí que las sanciones de Estados Unidos supongan el primer paso de un bloqueo que podría resultar determinante para el futuro del país.
¿Cuál es la situación de la economía venezolana?
Nadie sabe esta respuesta con exactitud. La falta de transparencia del ejecutivo bolivariano y la ausencia de datos del Banco Central nacional (BCV) desde 2015 pone en tela de juicio la mayor parte de las cifras que se manejan y que oscilan entre lo oficial y lo oficioso. Así pues, se estima que la deuda pública externa superó los 130.000 millones de dólares en 2016, que el PIB ha caído un 27% en los últimos tres años y que la tasa de inflación en 2017 supera el 120%.
¿Existe riesgo de default?
Absolutamente. De hecho, es uno de los principales temores sobre el país, pese a que el Gobierno siempre ha priorizado el pago. En un reciente informe, S&P advertía del riesgo de que Venezuela incurra en impago y degradó el rating nueve escalones por debajo del llamado ‘bono basura’. La agencia también estimaba que la economía se contraerá un 6% en 2017 y un 7,2% la renta per cápita.
¿Cómo se articula la relación entre Venezuela, EEUU y el petróleo?
Venezuela es el tercer proveedor de petróleo de EEUU y éste, al mismo tiempo, es el principal cliente de Venezuela y el único que paga sus facturas en efectivo. Estados Unidos podría prescindir de toda o casi toda la importación de crudo venezolano y suplirla con producción propia y con el crudo obtenido mediante fracking. Para Venezuela, sin embargo, la interrupción o disminución de las compras de Washington supondría quedarse sin el único cliente que le paga en efectivo, es decir, prescindir de su única fuente de liquidez. En los años de bonanza, Chávez solicitó préstamos a China y Rusia a cambio de contratos de suministro de crudo a futuro, de manera que, grosso modo, las actuales exportaciones de petróleo a esos países constituyen el pago de dichos créditos. Algo similar ocurre con los países de la alianza Petrocaribe, creada por el mismo Chávez en 2005 e integrada por 17 naciones de Centroamérica y el Caribe, que recibían crudo y derivados a cambio de financiar una parte de su deuda y pagar la otra parte con bienes y servicios básicos en Caracas.
¿Por qué Trump ha endurecido su postura?
El presidente estadounidense está decidido a hacer todo lo posible para acabar con el mandato de Nicolás Maduro, hasta el punto de que no descarta emprender “una acción militar” contra su territorio. Las acciones económicas que anunció este viernes son el primer paso de un bloqueo económico que podría ir a más y empeorar la escasez de alimentos y la conflictividad social que se vive en las calles.
¿Son las primeras sanciones de EEUU?
No. Washington había tomado anteriormente medidas contra el propio Maduro y contra varios funcionarios y ex funcionarios de su gobierno por presuntas prácticas corruptas y de violación de los derechos humanos.

(Reuters) Trump slaps new sanctions on Venezuela ‘dictatorship,’ state oil firm

(Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company in an effort to halt financing that fuels President Nicolas Maduro’s “dictatorship,” the White House said on Friday.

The order is Washington’s biggest sanctions blow to date against Maduro and is intended to punish his leftist government for what Trump has called an erosion of democracy in the oil-rich country, already reeling from an economic crisis.

“These measures are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people,” the White House said in a statement.

Banning trades on new bonds will make it tricky for Venezuela’s ailing state-run company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] to refinance its heavy debt burden. Investors had expected that it would seek to ease upcoming payments through such an operation, which usually requires new paper be issued.

That could push the cash-strapped company closer to a possible default, or bolster its reliance on key allies China and Russia, which have already lent Caracas billions of dollars.

However, the order protects holders of most existing Venezuelan government and PDVSA bonds, who were relieved the sanctions did not go further. Venezuelan and PDVSA bonds were trading broadly higher on Friday afternoon.

Venezuela’s foreign minister said on Friday that the United States was trying to foment a humanitarian crisis in the country.

The sanctions are “uncivilized politics,” and Venezuela is “a victim of fake news” that exaggerates the extent of its economic crisis, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said at the United Nations in New York.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry, Oil Ministry, and PDVSA did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

PDVSA UNDER PRESSURE

The sanctions heap fresh pressure on PDVSA, the financial engine of Maduro’s government, which is already struggling due to low global oil prices, mismanagement, allegations of corruption and brain drain.

Washington last month sanctioned PDVSA’s finance vice president Simon Zerpa, complicating some of the company’s operations as Americans are now banned from doing business with him.

Trump has so far spared Venezuela from broader sanctions against its vital oil industry, but officials have said such actions are under consideration.

Amid fears that a ban on oil exports could aggravate food shortages and sentence Venezuela’s roughly 30 million people to famine, opposition politicians applauded the targeted sanctions.

“These sanctions are not against Venezuela, but rather the corrupt people who seek to sell the nation’s assets at a discount,” said opposition lawmaker and economist Angel Alvarado.

Venezuela has for months struggled to find financing because of PDVSA’s cash flow problems and corruption scandals have led financial institutions to tread cautiously, regardless of sanctions.

Russia and its state oil company Rosneft have emerged as an increasingly important source of financing for PDVSA, according to a Reuters report.

On at least two occasions, the Venezuelan government has used Russian cash to avoid imminent defaults on payments to bondholders, a high-level PDVSA official told Reuters.

Trump’s order allows the U.S. Treasury to provide licenses for dealings in select existing Venezuelan debt and many commercial and humanitarian transactions, including those for commercial trade and petroleum trade as well as for transactions involving only PDVSA’s U.S. unit, Citgo Petroleum [PDVSAC.UL].