A Meeting About Nothing

The hotly trailed meeting with Bondholders at Palacio Blanco amounted to a boring speech by Tareck, barely different from the usual stream of propaganda pablum on Venezuelan State TV. God help us all.

Today, the hotly anticipated meeting between Tareck El Aissami’s Debt Restructuring Committee and Venny and freshly flown-in PDVSA Bondholders went down in Palacio Blanco just across the street from the Presidential Palace in Caracas. It had its very own #TropicalMierda red carpet. Reports suggest the only productive thing that came out of the meeting was the rum-tasting experiences organized for the select few afterwards. CC had its very own mole there and we’re telling you how it went down.

In spite of the previous announcement that no OFAC sanctionées would be present, El Aissami and Finance Minister/PDVSA CFO Simón Zerpa were in fact in attendance, which motivated some early defections (oh, to be a fly on that wall).

El Aissami chaired the meeting and read a prepared statement parroting the usual propaganda lines about the economic blockade by the US and the illegal OFAC sanctions. He bitched about the decision by Citibank and Deutsche Bank to close several of the Republic’s accounts, and the difficulties this creates for the government when making payments. He talked vaguely about a new “sustainable ” payment schedule based on the UN Resolution of Sovereign Debt Crises, Restructurings and Resolution Mechanisms. “We need to work together to get the sanctions lifted,” said Tareck at one point, finally hinting at one real reason the meeting actually needed to happen.

“We need to work together to get the sanctions lifted,” said Tareck at one point, hinting at the one real reason the meeting actually needed to happen.

There was just nothing said here that hasn’t been said on VTV a thousand times before.

The meeting and the government’s “proposals” were as serious and carefully crafted as Miss Venezuela’s wishes for world peace.

After Shrödinger’s Default drama of the last two weeks (and with the grace period for several overdue coupons expiring today) the government’s only proposal is a propaganda gabfest delivered by a Drug Kingpin, and let’s take a moment to remember most of the attendees are forbidden to do business with him. You’d call it shocking if it wasn’t all so very what’d-ya-expect?

It’s easy to underestimate just how dire the absence of minimally competent technocratic figures has become within chavismo. Even if the government wanted to restructure, it just doesn’t seem like there are people in that team with the capacity to lead a highly complex negotiation like that. They just gathered together investors from all over the world and trundled them into Palacio Blanco to dish out propaganda. because dishing out propaganda is all they know how to do.

They say they’ll keep paying but if that’s true, why would anyone negotiate with them? As things stand, the next time a payment is late bondholders who attended the meeting (and, even more so, the ones who did not) will be heading to the nearest court to sue the hell out of them.