During a speech on the Telesur television network, Maduro assured listeners that there was an “economic coup” underway in Venezuela perpetrated by the usual suspects. Speaking via telephone from Algeria, Maduro said:
It’s a plan they’ve [the opposition] made to try to create unrest among the people and take them to extreme situations. That’s the vital concept of destabilizing the country (…) there’s an economic coup underway in Venezuela, and that’s why the country is defeating it on the streets, just as the government is working on the streets.
There’s an economic coup underway, that’s the road they’ve taken, the way of the economic war and the economic coup, and the Venezuelan people are defeating it on the streets with consciousness, patience and through mobilization.
Maduro also charged authorities with finding out exactly who was involved in the economic coup, saying:
They have to identify economic groups, they have to investigate who is behind this ambush with a firm hand. These mafias could not sabotage Christmas as they did during last semana santa last a year [a holiday that was marked by protests in 2014]. Now, they waited for me to leave to try to put an end to the country.
Maduro Claims Tour a Success
Maduro also qualified his visits to Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran as “very positive”, and said that he had helped to:
… open new eras that will lead to the recovery of the [oil] markets and their stabilization during the medium-term and over the next years, where OPEC is playing a vital part.
We’ve reached agreements with the countries we visited which we’ll take on together…. [to] find a consensus about this over the next few weeks. After that, the mechanisms for implementation will be, well, we will find them… but the first thing is to find consensus… and take corrective measures so that the oil market can go up to the level it needs to be at.
As with his previous claims of reaching agreements with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Maduro did not provide any concrete details.
Maduro did confirm that there will be no OPEC meeting in the next few weeks to deal with the issue of falling oil prices due to “a lack of consensus”.
Moody’s Downgrades Venezuelan Debt
The U.S. credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded its rating for Venezuelan debt to Caa3 from Caa1, and changed its outlook to “stable”.
The downgrade means that Moody’s believes that the likelihood that Venezuela will default on its debt as “increased significantly” due to the worsening economic crisis, and that the amount of money investors are likely to lose in the event of a default (the “loss given default”) is over 50%.
The outlook is considered “stable” because Moody’s believes that, even if oil prices continue to fall, Venezuela’s rating is unlikely to go lower.
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