Payment Drama

Your daily briefing for Thursday, September 21, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Yesterday the government announced it will pay interests on debt bonds due to expire in 2027, and guaranteed the fulfillment of future obligations as the shadow of default looms ahead.

According to estimates by Torino Capital, Venezuela must pay over $54 billion between 2017 and 2019 in debt, which peaks at $6.5 billion for the remainder of 2017 a chilling figure when compared to the country’s capacity to generate income in dollars and the ongoing decline of oil output. This is why non-payment is a real possibility, even though Nicolás has kept paying debt at the cost of reducing imports, and further intensifying already acute shortages of food and medicines.

What if you can’t borrow from anyone?

PetroChina Americas advised their United States branch office not to approve loans for PDVSA, respecting the U.S. government’s sanctions against Venezuela.

Chile’s Central Bank cancelled the bilateral credit line to BCV due to successive non-payment and dropping financial indicators.

In addition, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a warning yesterday about widespread public corruption in Venezuela, describing features to identify and report suspicious activities, and aiding financial institutions in distinguishing illegal transactions from legitimate ones.

No gas, water or cash

Caracas is now suffering the drama the rest of the country’s been enduring for months: gas shortages.

Norberto Bausson, former operations vice-president in Hidrocapital, denounced that La Mariposa water reservoir, which supplies part of Miranda state and Caracas, isn’t operating because water from the Tuy river was cut. He explained the damage to the ecosystem and the dire consequences to the quality of water, as he pointed out that the already severe rationing will go on indefinitely.

Despite the chaos they unleashed in December 2016, after announcing the removal of the Bs. 100 banknote from circulation, yesterday the head of the Banking Sector Management Bureau (SUDEBAN), Antonio Morales, said that the banknote is being kept in circulation because “it’s needed” and that the government is working on a new bill “that will start circulating by the end of the year.”

At the UN

At the UN General Assembly, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela emphasized the need to establish a coherent dialogue that leads to free, democratic and transparent elections. Nicolás, Varela said, “insists on imposing a government system by force.”

Argentine Vice-president Gabriela Michetti said that it’s obvious that there are political prisoners and no free elections in Venezuela and that Argentina supports a credible dialogue.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes said that the entire world must lend a hand to the Venezuelan people and that he hopes the nation can find “a solution to the democratic breakdown and the profound crisis it faces.”

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said that, together with other eleven countries, Chile is seeking a democratic solution for the Venezuelan crisis.

Lastly, Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke extensively about our country and said that the opening of a humanitarian aid channel, an electoral timetable, respect for the National Assembly and the release of all political prisoners must be guaranteed in Venezuela.

Venezuela is now one of the 29 countries that the UN denounced yesterday for cases of retaliation and intimidation against human rights activists.

Sanctions for the culprits

European Parliament (EP) Speaker Antonio Tajani said that Europe must impose individual and selective sanctions against those responsible for the current repression that Venezuela’s experiencing. He said that “there can be no impunity when democracy and human rights are being abused,” which is why the international community must act against the “Venezuelan dictatorship” and contribute to solve this unprecedented crisis. “We must have the courage to make decisions that favor a change toward democracy. Issuing condemnations is good but acting to make change happen is better,” he said.

The EP will organize a conference this year about democracy in Venezuela. Also, next month, they’ll choose the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought; and the Venezuelan opposition is among the candidates.

In addition, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Venezuelan Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza that the solution to our crisis must start with “the respect for human rights and diversity of opinions,” emphasizing the urgency of a negotiated peaceful solution.

Natural disasters

Hurricane María swept over Puerto Rico with winds of more than 200 km/h and heavy rain leaving “severe damages,” according to the government, who also fears for the complete collapse of an economy already bankrupted by a debt of over $120 billion. 100% of households don’t have electrical power and there are general communication issues, while most roads are blocked. Governor Ricardo Rosselló has requested U.S. president Donald Trump to declare the island a “disaster zone,” ordering a curfew until Saturday. There have been no reports of fatalities so far.

Mexico declared three days of mourning while rescue efforts continue. “In respect for Mexico’s mourning, we won’t issue any statements,” the Lima Group said last night, announcing that their statement about Venezuela will be issued next Saturday, but remarking that there’s a solid opinion that the situation has become worse.

With the State’s resources

Last night, Nicolás made a shameful demonstration of embezzlement in favor of chavista candidates for gubernatorial elections. Funnily enough,he believes Julio Borges is just like Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables, a guy capable of subduing his bodyguards and overcoming his rings of military intelligence, and he made him responsible for any attacks on his life. His exasperating efforts to cause frictions reveal how important abstention is in these elections.

Roberto Picón has been a political prisoner for 90 days now, without charges against him, his only “crime” consisting on his technical skills and his work in favor of universal, secret and direct elections.

Yolanda Pantin was awarded the XVII Premio Casa de América de Poesía Americana, for her work Lo que hace el tiempo. The jury unanimously chose to present this extraordinary Venezuelan poet with this award. Congratulations!

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.