Dude, Your Strategic Fund Has Less than a Week's Worth of Imports In It

0
That's tiny!
That's tiny!
That’s tiny!

For years – literally years – we’ve been wondering exactly how much money the Venezuelan government had squirrelled away in its “parafiscal funds”: Fonden- and Fondo Chino-style unaudited, unreported, wholly discretionary accounting black boxes.

Finally, yesterday, Maduro let the cat out of the bag: announcing he would finally unite all of these different pots into a single, grandly named Fondo Estratégico that will hold the knee-shakingly awesome sum of…$750 million!

That’s right folks, not even a billion bucks. At the first semester’s rate of imports – $115 million per day – that’s roughly six and a half days of imports. Not even a week! And that’s at the current rate of imports, which BoA says is already brutally contracted by 36% compared to last year’s!

What’s going on here? Well, Maduro has to come up with over $5 billion in maturing debt payments due in October. Refinancing under current circumstances is too crazy for even this manicomio-cum-government to countenance.

So after they set aside the money they needed to pay their October bondholders what they’re left with is…this. 

I do wonder if anyone quite checked with the Chinese that the elaborate oversight controls they’d negotiated for Beijing’s diplomats in Caracas to keep the reins tight over the Fondo Chino (“abajo el imperialismo!”, right?) are going to carry over into the new fund. (Then again, I’ll go out on a limb and guess the chinos are every bit as appalled and exasperated by the government’s macro management as everyone else.)

Stepping back, I suppose it’s “good” news that they finally seem to have decided to publish at least the current balance in these unaudited parafiscal funds now that, y’know, they’ve spent it all. Because that’s what this announcement amounts to: Maduro is telling us they blew the entire windfall from a decade long oil boom and in return gave us a country where you can’t even get ibuprofen at the pharmacy. 

Alternatively, he’s just lying: announcing a fund he claims will unify the parafiscal funds but keeping some parafiscal money out of it on the sly. That would achieve the remarkable feat of making the black-box funds even less transparent than they’ve been up to now, by refusing not just to publish their balances, but to acknowledge their existence. 

Pick your poison.

1 COMMENT

  1. I mean they said it was going to be 750 million.. but there is no freaking way that’s the total sum of what’s left in all of the fondos nobody has ever audited. Right? I mean there is no way! Say it ain’t so…. please?

    • Here are the two money quotes from the video:

      “Vamos a llevar en una cuenta unica todo lo que el estado venezolano maneja para inversiones de desarrollo en FONDEN, Fondo Chino y otros fondos de aporte de divisa que tenemos… ese fondo lo vamos a abrir inmediatamente con 750 millones de dolares.”

      “Confirmamos ante el mundo que vamos a seguir cumpliendo – como ha sido en 15 anos de revolucion y ya tenemos todos los mecanismos listos para el cumplimiento de los compromisos internacionales que tienen su vencimiento en las proximas semanas.”

      I think you’re right Quico. They pay what they owe this year and then with the leftover money, they’ll open that new account. Otherwise, why speak about both things at once and in that order?

      It’s appalling.

  2. Why come clean? why now? it makes no sense, especially once there is nothing left in the pot. What incentive is there for this? Why not simply keep lying?

    If they have the 6 billion stashed away waiting to pay those bonds and interest that are coming up mid October, then I understand this move even less clearly.

    Assuming they are telling the truth this time (a big IF) these guys have been running on fumes for longer than I thought. Famine -the real thing- could be coming our way unless a major U-turn is taken on most of the policies these guys have been championing. How do they expect to last a year with this?, why are they even thinking about elections, when they should be worried about Christmas? And taking all of this into consideration, what´s the point of revealing such damning information?

    Could that be the reason RR is moved to Foreign Affairs? a guy that can maybe negotiate a quick loan? a guy that can at least speak the language, has some knowledge about how to lie about our numbers? A guy with some rapport with our pals the chinese?

    The more I know about these guys the less sense I think they make, thus making me feel that I actually know nothing or are being purposely deceived…

    • I agree: you’d think the strategic value of maintaining ambiguity over the level of the parafiscal funds would come in especially now, when they’re out of money. This is like running up the bet on a round of poker and then announcing to everyone you’d been bluffing at the very end!

      On a side-note, I’ve been looking at Famine situations in Africa wrt my other project, which made me curious about famines in Venezuela. Amazing fact: since Columbus set foot in Güiria 516 years ago, there’s never been a documented famine in Venezuela. Hunger, yes, but famine – substantial numbers of people dying from lack of food – that has never happened.

      • Well, they seem to assume that there is more out there (somewhere, good knows how much) but they are just ‘starting’ to transfer some of those funds. The worst of it all is that as they are trying to show some transparency, they do it in very obscure ways. Maduro says that they have set ‘goals’ to increase the fund, but he does not care to share to his constituency what are those goals, what is the schedule for future transfer, not to mention how much is left in the piggy-bank.

  3. Well, it couldn’t be any other way. We would not be in this situation (a situation that has only worsened over many months now) if there was any significant amount of money stashed away somewhere. These guys would not have let some “red tape” or arbitrary rule get in the way of transferring the funds required to maintain the illusion of prosperity. I believe Econ. Miguel Angel Santos has saying more or less this for some time now. There is no money and I don’t understand how Bank of America and others could have possibly thought there was any.

    • Bueno, I’m assuming the $750 mill is what’s left over after they pay their Oct.-maturing bonds. If they miss that payment you can *really* kiss the country goodbye…

      I think there *is* money, it’s just all for Wall Street. HIV+ patients? Not so much…

      • Well, granted, maybe these guys are capable of thinking far enough ahead and set aside the $5-$6B required for payments in Oct. Nevertheless that is only a fraction of the $50B+ some were saying Venezuela had stashed somewhere. I would not be surprised, however, if the funds don’t even add up to that and they have been and/or will squeeze PDVSA cash flow to make payments. I wonder how PDVSA’s Accounts Payable has been behaving recently.

        • Bueno, se te bloquea el acceso al crédito internacional, lo cual pararía las importaciones completamente. Pasas de los $115 millones al día que vienen importando este año – que ya de por sí no es suficiente – a cero. Y no hay capacidad para suplir esas importaciones por vainas hechas en el país pq las industrias o las quebraron o las nacionalizaron, lo que viene siendo lo mismo.

          Es un escenario dantesco. Ya a uno nada lo sorprende pero sería una irresponsabilidad a otra escala de magnitud incluso en comparación con las loqueteras que ya han hecho.

          Ningún gobierno aguanta eso, pero peor, ningún pueblo aguanta eso.

        • Default. Clauses would kick in requiring immediate payment of a bunch of outstanding debt. We wouldn’t have money to respond and we would be cut off from international debt markets, probably for many years. It wouldn’t be nice.

          I honestly doubt that we will default come October. Very unlikely. They still have options and they can still finesse the country’s (PDVSA’s) cash flow.

      • Remember when the international left used to advocate non-payment of foreign debt as a contribution to the war on ‘third world’ poverty? Heard them mention that in the case of Venezuela?

        • Philgunson,

          I remember when Alan Garcia decided to use no more than 10% of GDP to service the Peruvian foreign debt. The consequences were –DANTESCAS–.

          All Peru could do to export was barter. No bank would do business with the government. Public employees salaries went unpaid for weeks. The Peruvian economy went into hyperinflation. Shining Path almost toppled the government. A crime wave with a marquee on kidnapping unfolded (all those that were rich decamped Peru for a while).

          The poor were devastated in the process. The slums would make communal soups to feed those that could contribute to it. Those that could not contribute would just go hungry.

          When measure was first announced, Garcia was hailed as hero by international lefties.

          The ironic thing, is that he got re-elected a few years later.

          • Yes, I’m afraid I’m old enough to remember that too! As I recall though, even that horrible experience didn’t deter certain sectors from continuing to propose the non-payment of debt. But they have been pretty quiet on the subject of Venezuela.

  4. Oh my God. The insanity here is beyond comprehension. The Chinese knew all along. That’s why the Chinese kept their distance with continuous requests for more loans from the Bolivarian government. “No! Send us more tankers of oil, then we’ll talk. Got it?” Furthermore, all of those 60/40 joint ventures in the Faja will remain stuck in Orinoco molasses. Who would invest in such a joint venture KNOWING that your so-called business partner is essential broke? Really? Meanwhile the Petrocaribe pipeline keeps flowing and 5 billion dollars a year is given away to the Castro brothers. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried…..

  5. In the Reuters article you link to, it is said that $105 Billion dollars had been deposited in the Fonden account as of 2012.

    So $100 Billion is gone? And less than 1% remains? They’d have to show a lot of completed projects to justify that.

  6. Esto me llego hoy de Scotiabank hablando de los arbitrajes que estan metidos en ICSID (siglas en ingles) en contra de Vzla y que suman unos USD24Bn. Read it, specially the EVENT OF DEFAULT part
    Here is part of the article:

    We estimate total liabilities for all pending ICSID cases at $24bn. That estimation is based on
    certain assumptions of discounts off of the requested amounts of compensation, with the size of
    the discount dependent on the current stage of the arbitration proceedings. For example, some
    of the newer cases could still be dismissed completely for lack of jurisdiction. There is significant
    uncertainty around that estimate, since it is driven mostly by just a few large cases, and the final
    amount could be significantly different. More importantly, with the largest cases now in the final
    phase of deliberation, we should get some resolution of that uncertainty soon.
    Enforcement of ICSID awards
    What happens after the ICSID tribunal finally issues its award? No appeals are allowed and the
    decision is considered final. Nevertheless, one often used tactic remains: a request for
    annulment. The grounds for annulment are fairly limited by design, and include corruption by
    one of the arbitrators, a serious departure from a fundamental rule of procedure, and failure to
    state the reasons for the award. Nevertheless, the use of annulments has been more frequent
    than expected, leading to frustration among parties in the dispute, who had sought a final
    decision but were thwarted by over-zealous review committees. Annulments are requested after
    the final award one-third of the time, and about one-half of those requests for annulment are
    granted a stay of enforcement by the Tribunal, according to data compiled by ICSID. While only
    22% of annulment requests are ultimately granted, the proceedings can take one to two years
    and would significantly delay enforcement of the award.
    In the past, Venezuela has paid ICSID awards or settled prior to the issuance of the award.
    Most countries comply with ICSID awards in order to maintain their reputation as an attractive
    place for future investment and also to remain in good standing with the World Bank.
    Venezuela’s recent expropriations suggest these may no longer be strong enough incentives.
    Instead, the strength of ICSID enforcement provisions likely plays a large role. Understanding
    Venezuelan ICSID cases June 25, 2014
    Page 4
    that a foreign investor would not receive fair treatment in a host-country’s court, the World Bank
    designed a strong forum that would promote the fair resolution of disputes, and thus promote
    greater cross-border flows. As such, the World Bank anticipated many of the obvious ruses and
    ensured they would not work. For example, Venezuela’s withdrawal from the ICSID convention
    in 2012 will have no effect on cases already registered, and probably even no effect on future
    cases to the extent that the investments involved were made prior to the withdrawal date and
    relied on the assurance of ICSID dispute resolution. In fact, the ICSID convention is fairly
    explicit about the procedures and consequences of withdrawal from the convention. Similarly,
    claims of sovereign immunity or interference from local courts will not be allowed. Argentina has
    tried to argue that enforcement requires prior review by Argentine courts, an argument that
    obviously could defeat the entire purpose of the ICSID system, and has been rejected by ICSID
    tribunals.
    As evidence of most countries’ willingness to honor ICSID awards, consider the fact, cited by
    Reed et al, that only four out of 271 cases had led to execution proceedings as of 2010. The
    four cases involved Congo, Senegal, Liberia, and Kazakhstan, countries who we suspect did
    not see the benefits of cooperating with ICSID to encourage future investment. What would
    happen if Venezuela joined this list of countries who refuse to pay?
    The process is fairly straightforward. 150 countries have ratified the ICSID convention, including
    the US and the UK. Under Article 54 of the Convention, each of those countries is required to
    enforce any arbitration award from ICSID as if it were a final judgement from that country’s own
    courts. These countries may not reconsider the merits of the cases in question, and at the
    claimant’s request, must convert ICSID awards into local enforcement orders in what, we are
    told, is a fairly simple process.
    The next step, execution, or the collection of money from a sovereign country based on those
    enforcement orders, can be difficult, however, a fact that holdouts to the Argentine restructuring
    know only too well. Investors would look for Venezuelan assets located in the US that are used
    for a commercial purpose. The bank account of the Venezuelan embassy would be immune
    while assets of the Venezuelan Central Bank may or may not be immune. In contrast, any
    money obtained by the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance following an initial bond offering in New
    York would be an easy target.
    Thus, the Republic, and perhaps PDVSA as well, would lose direct access to international
    financial markets. They may still be able issue bonds to domestic investors, who would then sell
    them offshore, a procedure the country has often followed in the past for different reasons.
    Venezuela could also face even more serious consequences related to interruptions to its oil
    export business—the primary driver of government revenues and the sole source of hard
    currency for the economy. As we explained in more detail in our article, “The Venezuelan
    Endgame” (April 29, 2010), creditors could try to seize oil exports or oil payments for those
    exports, with a realistic chance of success.
    Event of default
    Independent of those execution actions, failure to pay an ICSID award would also be an event
    of default on the external bonds once that ICSID award is converted into a local enforcement
    order. For example, the 2026 bonds list the following event of default:
    (h) there shall have been entered against the Republic or Banco Central a final judgment,
    decree or order by a court of competent jurisdiction from which no appeal may be made, or is
    made, for the payment of money in excess of U.S.$100,000,000 or its equivalent and 30 days
    shall have passed since the entry of any such order without it having been satisfied or stayed;
    Thus, attempts by Venezuela to refuse to pay those ICSID awards or to negotiate the terms of
    the settlement too aggressively once ICSID has decided the amounts of compensation due
    Venezuelan ICSID cases June 25, 2014
    Page 5
    could have significant consequences for the country’s bonds. Bondholders could accelerate at
    any time, but we don’t know if the required 25% of bondholders would want to. Some, perhaps
    those holding the lower priced bonds like the 2038s may want to accelerate, especially if they
    also hold CDS. (CDS will not trigger in this scenario unless the bonds are actually accelerated.)
    Others might decide that acceleration is counterproductive, since the country’s response would
    be to stop paying coupons, and any hopes of recovering the full principal would entail a lengthy
    legal process.
    The likely outcome
    The sum of ICSID liabilities, which could exceed $20bn, is a large sum for the government.
    Consider in comparison that the country’s annual oil exports are $76bn, total foreign debt
    (including debt to PDVSA and China) is $90bn, and total annual foreign debt service is $19bn.
    In other words, the country faces the prospect of foreign debt service nearly doubling over the
    next year.
    Considering that President Maduro’s administration is already confronting significant economic
    and political problems, we doubt it wants to add international legal problems to the mix,
    especially in light of Argentina’s much publicized legal difficulties in recent months. Similarly,
    ConocoPhillips and other creditors would surely recognize that Venezuela cannot pay all at
    once, and that they have little to gain from causing a default on Venezuelan bonds. If Venezuela
    refuses to negotiate, however, creditors would have little choice but to pursue enforcement
    actions.
    At the same time, as the debt burden grows, governments may reconsider the costs and
    benefits of continuing to service that debt. The current ICSID lawsuits are large enough to tip
    that cost-benefit analysis, and potentially alter Venezeula’s long running policy of prioritizing
    debt service over other expenditures.

      • Here it goes again…. Sorry!

        We estimate total liabilities for all pending ICSID cases at $24bn. That estimation is based on certain assumptions of discounts off of the requested amounts of compensation, with the size of the discount dependent on the current stage of the arbitration proceedings. For example, some of the newer cases could still be dismissed completely for lack of jurisdiction. There is significant uncertainty around that estimate, since it is driven mostly by just a few large cases, and the final amount could be significantly different. More importantly, with the largest cases now in the final phase of deliberation, we should get some resolution of that uncertainty soon.

        Enforcement of ICSID awards
        What happens after the ICSID tribunal finally issues its award? No appeals are allowed and the decision is considered final. Nevertheless, one often used tactic remains: a request for annulment. The grounds for annulment are fairly limited by design, and include corruption by one of the arbitrators, a serious departure from a fundamental rule of procedure, and failure to state the reasons for the award. Nevertheless, the use of annulments has been more frequent than expected, leading to frustration among parties in the dispute, who had sought a final decision but were thwarted by over-zealous review committees. Annulments are requested after the final award one-third of the time, and about one-half of those requests for annulment are granted a stay of enforcement by the Tribunal, according to data compiled by ICSID. While only 22% of annulment requests are ultimately granted, the proceedings can take one to two years and would significantly delay enforcement of the award.

        In the past, Venezuela has paid ICSID awards or settled prior to the issuance of the award. Most countries comply with ICSID awards in order to maintain their reputation as an attractive place for future investment and also to remain in good standing with the World Bank.

        Venezuela’s recent expropriations suggest these may no longer be strong enough incentives. Instead, the strength of ICSID enforcement provisions likely plays a large role that a foreign investor would not receive fair treatment in a host-country’s court, the World Bank designed a strong forum that would promote the fair resolution of disputes, and thus promote greater cross-border flows. As such, the World Bank anticipated many of the obvious ruses and ensured they would not work. For example, Venezuela’s withdrawal from the ICSID convention in 2012 will have no effect on cases already registered, and probably even no effect on future cases to the extent that the investments involved were made prior to the withdrawal date and relied on the assurance of ICSID dispute resolution. In fact, the ICSID convention is fairly explicit about the procedures and consequences of withdrawal from the convention. Similarly, claims of sovereign immunity or interference from local courts will not be allowed. Argentina has tried to argue that enforcement requires prior review by Argentine courts, an argument that obviously could defeat the entire purpose of the ICSID system, and has been rejected by ICSID tribunals.

        As evidence of most countries’ willingness to honor ICSID awards, consider the fact, cited by Reed et al, that only four out of 271 cases had led to execution proceedings as of 2010. The four cases involved Congo, Senegal, Liberia, and Kazakhstan, countries who we suspect did not see the benefits of cooperating with ICSID to encourage future investment. What would happen if Venezuela joined this list of countries who refuse to pay? The process is fairly straightforward. 150 countries have ratified the ICSID convention, including the US and the UK. Under Article 54 of the Convention, each of those countries is required to enforce any arbitration award from ICSID as if it were a final judgement from that country’s own courts.

        These countries may not reconsider the merits of the cases in question, and at the claimant’s request, must convert ICSID awards into local enforcement orders in what, we are told, is a fairly simple process. The next step, execution, or the collection of money from a sovereign country based on those enforcement orders, can be difficult, however, a fact that holdouts to the Argentine restructuring know only too well. Investors would look for Venezuelan assets located in the US that are used for a commercial purpose. The bank account of the Venezuelan embassy would be immune while assets of the Venezuelan Central Bank may or may not be immune. In contrast, any money obtained by the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance following an initial bond offering in New York would be an easy target. Thus, the Republic, and perhaps PDVSA as well, would lose direct access to international financial markets. They may still be able issue bonds to domestic investors, who would then sell them offshore, a procedure the country has often followed in the past for different reasons.

        Venezuela could also face even more serious consequences related to interruptions to its oil export business—the primary driver of government revenues and the sole source of hard currency for the economy. As we explained in more detail in our article, “The Venezuelan Endgame” (April 29, 2010), creditors could try to seize oil exports or oil payments for those exports, with a realistic chance of success.

        Event of default
        Independent of those execution actions, failure to pay an ICSID award would also be an event of default on the external bonds once that ICSID award is converted into a local enforcement order. For example, the 2026 bonds list the following event of default:
        (h) there shall have been entered against the Republic or Banco Central a final judgment, decree or order by a court of competent jurisdiction from which no appeal may be made, or is made, for the payment of money in excess of U.S.$100,000,000 or its equivalent and 30 days shall have passed since the entry of any such order without it having been satisfied or stayed;

        Thus, attempts by Venezuela to refuse to pay those ICSID awards or to negotiate the terms of the settlement too aggressively once ICSID has decided the amounts of compensation due could have significant consequences for the country’s bonds. Bondholders could accelerate at any time, but we don’t know if the required 25% of bondholders would want to. Some, perhaps those holding the lower priced bonds like the 2038s may want to accelerate, especially if they also hold CDS. (CDS will not trigger in this scenario unless the bonds are actually accelerated.) Others might decide that acceleration is counterproductive, since the country’s response would be to stop paying coupons, and any hopes of recovering the full principal would entail a lengthy legal process.

        The likely outcome
        The sum of ICSID liabilities, which could exceed $20bn, is a large sum for the government. Consider in comparison that the country’s annual oil exports are $76bn, total foreign debt (including debt to PDVSA and China) is $90bn, and total annual foreign debt service is $19bn. In other words, the country faces the prospect of foreign debt service nearly doubling over the next year.

        Considering that President Maduro’s administration is already confronting significant economic and political problems, we doubt it wants to add international legal problems to the mix, especially in light of Argentina’s much publicized legal difficulties in recent months. Similarly, ConocoPhillips and other creditors would surely recognize that Venezuela cannot pay all at once, and that they have little to gain from causing a default on Venezuelan bonds. If Venezuela refuses to negotiate, however, creditors would have little choice but to pursue enforcement actions.

        At the same time, as the debt burden grows, governments may reconsider the costs and benefits of continuing to service that debt. The current ICSID lawsuits are large enough to tip that cost-benefit analysis, and potentially alter Venezuela’s long running policy of prioritizing debt service over other expenditures.

        • This is why Citgo is getting sold… not because of the fast cash (although they can certainly use it), it’s for the likely event of default. Better to get some cash than losing it altogether when we don’t pay the lawsuits.

  7. One of the tragedies here is that this regime has squandered the means and the opportunity to take steps that would soften the impact of what they inevitably are going to have to do. Where they are not totally corrupt, they are totally irresponsible.

  8. It is hard to believe. One billion is the kind of money at least a couple of those Boligarchs have in their Swiss accounts.
    Of course, anything is possible in Venezuela but THAT?

    • I always figured Diosdado would manipulate his way into Miraflores somehow.

      Now, instead, he’ll just buy it at liquidation prices. Along with about half the country. Why necessitate a vote when you can just be the landlord?

  9. “what´s the point of revealing such damning information?”

    I believe they’ve realised that for them, there is no such thing as ‘damning information’. They’ve become the Charlie Sheen of governments, the more they keep screwing up, the more lovable they are!

  10. I like the funds to imports comparison.

    Here’s another way to think of it:

    After 1.5 decades of some of highest oil prices in history, Venezuela has enough money left over for $25 per each Venezuelan.

    That’s about enough for a birthday card, a $20 bill, and postage from dear sweet Abuela.

    • (Have to send it by private courier because the public mail system is untrustworthy and has been run into the ground, and that would take care of the $20 easily)

      • That’s assuming there was enough paper available to make the birthday card and the envelope in which to send it.

        New cottage industry. Birthday card gestores.

  11. How about the money that crooked chavistas have stuck in Swiss bank accounts and investments/accounts/.property on foreign soil? How much from the drug trade? Would be a lot more than 750 million.

  12. This is all very fishy. The nature of the announcement. Explicitly say that “we have enough funds to service the debt”. Why bark like that? Increase confidence? For what? Does it really do any good to credibility?

    There are more than two scenearios. One of course is, that we pay the debt and we have some pocket change at the end. Two, is that we service the debt and that there is a lot more in parafiscal funds. Funds there to guarantee an electoral victory next year. Or three, there is no money to service the debt. Given this announcements, and the fact that people like Maduro typically boast what they lack, I am inclined for number 3.

  13. Meanwhile, in another planet…

    “As of June 30, 2014 its total value is NOK 5.478 trillion ($889.1 billion), holding one percent of global equity markets.” – Wikipedia on Norway’s oil fund

    *quietly weeps in the corner*

  14. $750mm line reminds me of Dr.Evil’s $1mm gaffe minus the $1bn correction (Austin Powers). The Kid is out with his quantity adjustment theory again… i guess he has to make some sense of it all… well when they default he will argue that its not a restructuring its a quantity adjustment :)….

  15. The hens always come home to roost. If you take money away from those who produce, and then give the money to those who consume, then consumption goes up and the production goes down until there is not enough money! Is that confusing?

  16. Of course, this is all very Dantesque. I think that Maduro, ignorant in all things, especially economic, told the truth, possibly thinking that what he was saying was positive. The investment bank “Chinese Wall”, that FT has referred to in the past , is about as effective as the real Chinese Wall was against invasion, in this case it does not prevent the invasion of the bank economist opinions by the high-profit generating bank underwriting interests. If the Ven. Govt. had had any really important available cash funds, they would have used part of them to hold down the parallel rate in the past. What is even worse, I believe there is serious doubt as to the real level of international reserves, supposedly at some $21 bill. Part of this in gold may well have been mortgaged to Goldman Sachs, some may be in Argentine/Ecuadorian/Bolivian junk bonds purchased by the Govt. and carried at par but worth very little, some gold was rumored to have been sent to Cuba when Chavez was sick, and, as I’ve said here before, very little if any gold is in the BCV vault (of the 20+ armored truckloads ordered by Chavez to be brought to Venezuela, only 4 trucks reportedly (privately) held any gold).

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