From the Summit to the Pit

For Friday, February 16, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

The Lima Group materialized yesterday one of the consequences of not imposing sanctions on authorities: Nicolás claimed that he’d attend the Summit of the Americas “no matter the circumstances”.

While he remarked that he’s driven them mad, that they fear him, that he can talk about the country and requested invitations to do so, to meet with them face to face, in addition to demanding proper judgement from his peers. On that line of denying reality and poorly-shown cynicism, he denied the existence of a diaspora of Venezuelans and blamed all the information about it on media labs; he pointed out that the movement of troops at the borders with Colombia and Brazil is a consequence of the tour made by U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson; he lied about the invitation allegedly extended by Colombia to deal with the issue at the border and claimed that despite the infamous original motive, agendas could revolve around peace. Well, he even came up with the term “ideological racism.”

Leave to other places

With the U.S., Nicolás hopes and expects that “diplomacy will overcome the conflict” (especially after the statements issued last Wednesday at the OAS, for instance); saying that American treatment towards him is “a political, strategic and diplomatic mistake.” Lastly, Nicolás claimed that the restructuring of the foreign debt is going well, better than he expected! — without offering any information — but denouncing the mad foreign persecution against bank accounts owned by Venezuelans and blaming the drop in oil output on corrupt sectors that created a straitjacket for investment. “Venezuela doesn’t depend on an oil embargo from the U.S. (…) we have market in other countries and we’d take our ships and leave to other places,” he said. Irresponsible, as usual.

Cara’e tabla

Exiled prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz claimed that Diosdado Cabello pressured her to say that opposition leader Leopoldo López was responsible for the deaths that took place during 2014 protests: “I was pressured to say that the author of Bassil da Costa and Juan Montoya’s death was Leopoldo,” she said in a radio interview, adding that the prosecutor appointed for that case wanted to issue an order against López for homicide and terrorism and she objected it. Ortega doesn’t feel responsible for the collapse of democracy in Venezuela, despite her role and the time it took for her to reveal the corruption she was involved in: “I was never their accomplice. On the contrary, I unmasked many things,” she said, restating the things she objected to and emphasizing that her shift in stance wasn’t caused by political interests and that she doesn’t aspire to any publicly elected office. It’d be great if she explained judge María Lourdes Afiuni’s case sometime, huh?

A hundred thousand

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Acnur) underscored the growing number of Venezuelan citizens requesting asylum abroad, which surpasses the 100,000 applications, adding some 130,000 people who have chosen other forms of immigration. Acnur’s representative for Central America, Cuba and Mexico, José Samaniego, acknowledged that the amount of Venezuelan applicants “has increased across the American region,” with the lack of medicines and food, polarization, violence and crime as the main causes of the exodus. Samaniego emphasized that this migratory phenomenon poses a new situation for the American continent, where Venezuelans weren’t known for asylum applications, so he asked host countries to deal with this situation with more attention and information.

Let’s talk about children

Yesterday, a 4-month-old baby died of child malnutrition in the pediatric emergency of Dr. Manuel Núñez Tovar hospital in Maturín. It’s the fourth malnutrition death so far in February in that state. Lawmaker Sergio Vergara reported that the legislators will meet with officials of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare to review the status of 52 Venezuelan children who were abandoned in Northern Santander: “We want to know if they have families in Venezuela and whether it’s possible for these families to take care of them,” he said.

Problems at the J.M. De los Ríos Children’s Hospital haven’t stopped. This time, it was lack of water that prevented children to undergo their hemodialysis therapy.

Katherine Martínez, head of Prepara Familia, demanded that the State respect the rights of the most vulnerable, especially those who have been hospitalized or suffer from chronic diseases.

Additionally, yesterday lawmaker Mariela Magallanes regretted that Venezuelan families lack the resources to feed their children and used the recent intoxications caused by consumption of bitter cassava to explain the government’s inefficacy to guarantee proper access to food.


While the annual misery index issued by Bloomberg, estimated by adding the inflation and unemployment rates of 66 countries, placed Venezuela first for a fourth year straight, focusing on black market exchange rates as a way to measure inflation, Venezuelan bonds allegedly experienced a rebound following news that Nicolás had removed sanctioned official Simón Zerpa as PDVSA’s Finance vice-president and appointed Iliana Ruzza (formerly PDVSA’s treasury manager,) to try and ease the way for crude exports and debt negotiations. Zerpa made it impossible for American entities to help PDVSA refinance its debt, even before U.S. sanctions.


  • In defense of human rights, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia supported the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union against Venezuelan government officials.
  • The Colombian government issued a statement to deny Nicolás’ claim that he received a letter from president Juan Manuel Santos to meet and pointed out that they did send a notice to seven nations to seek protection from the Amazonian countries.
  • Yesterday, Brazilian President Michel Temer issued a decree recognizing the “situation of vulnerability” in Roraima state in the wake of the massive arrival of Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis. The measures will be coordinated and supervised by a Federal Committee of Emergency Attention.
  • Former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga requested urgent new sanctions to isolate and pressure the Venezuelan government, adding that Lima Group members must denounce Nicolás and his cronies before the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights violations.

  • Several Peruvian political parties called for a public demonstration on April 12 in Lima against the Venezuelan dictatorship, as reported by former prime minister and lawmaker Jorge del Castillo, “in view of [Nicolás’] insolence and defying attitude, even though he’s not welcome and he’s actually repudiated by the international community,” wrote Del Castillo on his Twitter account.

Businessman Lorenzo Mendoza dismissed the possibility of presenting his candidacy for presidential elections. Can we overcome the “outsider” theory now?

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  1. “Director General de la Direccion General de Gobierno Interior Del Ministerio Interior” Holy Sh$T now that is a title! and again with those signatures…..

  2. Some rebound, in the Bloomberg piece referenced, the bonds are currently at 22,16 cents to the dollar. They are LOWER than last month. What it does say is that some Hedge Funds think it would be a good investment: “It’s an opinion he shares with the likes of Morgan Stanley, Nomura Securities International Inc. and Stifel Nicolaus & Co., who’ve argued that the bonds could produce a windfall when President Nicolas Maduro is finally pushed out and a new administration comes to a restructuring agreement with creditors. The change could come as soon as the presidential election the government set for April, but even if the opposition can’t gather enough momentum for a victory, Kisler thinks it’s only a matter of time before Maduro departs.”

  3. ” Nicolás claimed that he’d attend the Summit of the Americas “no matter the circumstances”.”

    Well, what the brute said was “come rain, thunder or lightening”, but that’s just proper translation, semantics.

    Gotta love the predicament the Chavista tropical thug got himself into now! The Peruvian prime minister was quick to revert he won’t be accepted “ni por aire, ni por tierra ni por mar”. Thus commences another 3rd world tropical diplomatic circus of sorts, pass the popcorn!

    Weatherwise, Maduro clearly has the upper hand so far: Regardless of unpredictable climatic hardships, he’s intent and resolute on crashing the party, engorging tons of delicious Peruvian Ceviche.

    On the crucial Tactical Logistics front, however, brave Mercedes Araoz seems determined. All airways, all borders, all ports will be under strict surveillance by the brave Peruvian army, just in case the disgusting Kleptozuelan dictator were to be spotted.

    So now, pray tell, what are Maduro’s options in order to fulfill his promise and attend the coveted Summit of the Americas?? Disguise himself as Evo’s bodyguard? Dig a tunnel a la El Chapo?

    Can’t wait to see that shit. Only in the Tropics..

  4. ‘Do you fear me?’: Venezuela’s Maduro vows to gatecrash regional summit
    Reuters By Alexandra Ulmer and Vivian Sequera,Reuters 19 hours ago

    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s unpopular socialist president Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday his right-wing Latin American counterparts showed intolerance by trying to exclude him from an upcoming summit in Lima – and he vowed to go anyway.

    “Do you fear me? You don’t want to see me in Lima? You’re going to see me. Because come rain or shine, by air, land, or sea, I will attend the Summit of the Americas,” Maduro told foreign journalists at the Miraflores presidential palace.

    Peru’s center-right government this week said Maduro would not be welcome at the April summit, reinforcing his growing diplomatic isolation during a crackdown on dissent and a brutal economic crisis in Venezuela.

    Later on Thursday, Peru’s Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz told journalists that Maduro “really needs to understand that in Peru we don’t want to receive him.”…

    God, please let him show up in Lima. Imagine the epic ESCRACHE! I’ll bring the popcorn….

  5. Maduro fears any international meeting and will not not attend this one.
    Nicholas, like the Castros, must avoid all debates. If he appears at the Summit of the Americas, he will lose big. In Venezuela, Nicholas controls the media and all people surrounding him. Prison awaits those that disagree with his words. On the other hand, in Peru he would face unfettered criticism from the other countries and the media. Nicholas’ lies would be revealed fast.

  6. but denouncing the mad foreign persecution against bank accounts owned by Venezuelans
    How is it that Venezuelan politicians have foreign bank accounts? And of what size? Where did the money come from? A simple proof or earnings could clear this up in a second.


  7. Reading information from secondary sources ( small publications specialized on the nitty gritty of oil business events ) there are reports of a jump in the number of legal seizure of tankers carrying venezuelan cargoes or cargoes being transported to Venezuela or Curacao for use by Pdvsa, all over the caribbean ….., this makes pdvsa’s marketing operations increasingly difficult and further strangles its export capacity ………on which the regime is totally dependent to fund itself ……, think for instance of what happens when pdvsa goes out to hire a tanker and its owner knows that there is a chance that its vessel and cargo are going to be detained for months by the actions of pdvsa creditors …..!!

    Venezuelan crude cargoes to Curacao refinery have dropped to an all time low hampering the refineries capacity to maintain regular operations……more worrisome there are also many reports that the oil cargoes that are sent to india or china or curacao are increasingly so laden with bottom sediment and water that they cannot be accepted or if accepted give rise to claims against Pdvsa for the damage the delivery of such cargoes entails ……which translates into discounts and delays in the payments of cargoes which hurts Pdvsa’s finances big time……..

    There is of course the added announcement by the Union leaders of corpoelecs workers that the electrical transmision web is in such a state of disrepair that there is every chance that electrical power will be cut regularly to cities that have until now only suffered sporadically from power cuts , that extraordinary efforts are bien made to keep the electricity running until after the april elections ……..

    Maybe some of our very knowledgeable oil experts writing for this blog might take a look at these events and what they portend for the future of the regime …..and the country.

    • electrical transmission web is in such a state of disrepair that there is every chance that electrical power will be cut regularly to cities that have until now only suffered sporadically from power cuts ..

      Attack of the killer iguanas. 🙂

      extraordinary efforts are being made to keep the electricity running until after the april elections
      Amazing what duct tape can do.

    • No oil expert Bill Bass, but wanted to comment on the recent discussions of what Rex Tillerson might recommend to Trump and how those decisions might play out.

      While I very much want to see the US stop buying crude from Venezuela and stop sending light crude to Venezeula for PDVSA to mix with its heavy stuff, I think the financial impact on those US entities with such a move must be considered.

      For instance, I suspect all of those refineries are publicly-traded entities and any announcement of an embargo would likely negatively impact their stock prices. For PDVSA, finding a new buyer quickly is not an overnight thing, nor is finding a new source either for those refineries.

      Perhaps one option that will be explored is supplying those refineries with heavy crude from the SPR until new sources can be secured. That, of course, would require congressional approval in all likelihood.

      It’s a complicated issue to be sure, and one that will likely not be made until after the April elections I suspect.

  8. “Brazilian President Michel Temer issued a decree recognizing the “situation of vulnerability” in Roraima state in the wake of the massive arrival of Venezuelans.”

    Just watched on the TV that those Venezuelans have already reintroduced two diseases previously erradicated to Brazil: measles and diphtheria. Authorities are shocked that those people have never been vaccinated.


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