A highly anticipated meeting between Maduro regime officials and foreign creditors fizzled this afternoon, leaving in serious doubt the regime’s assertion that it would restructure the approximately $60 billion that it owes to lenders. The meeting, which took place in Caracas this afternoon, lasted a mere 30 minutes and contained no information from the regime regarding future debt payments.
Calling today’s meeting “short and confused”, Reuters claims that regime officials offered investors chocolates but little else. Upon the completion of the meeting, one bond holder told the news agency:
There was no offer, no terms, no strategy, nothing.
Today’s meeting was heralded by the regime as the first step in fulfilling Maduro’s declaration on November 2 that he would restructure all of the country’s foreign debt.
According to Bloomberg, vice president Tareck El Aissami was the only regime official to speak at the meeting, and characterized his intervention in the following way:
[El Aissami] devoted most of his remarks to railing against Donald Trump and global financiers who he said have conspired to keep the country from making debt payments on time. He pledged Venezuela would continue to honor its obligations while working to form committees with bondholders to figure out the next steps. He offered no specific proposals for restructuring, according to people who attended the meeting, which wasn’t open to journalists.
The bond holders were not allowed to ask questions publicly.
Fitch Lowers PDVSA Bonds Rating to “Restricted Default”
The Fitch Ratings agency lowered PDVSA’s rating to “restricted default” (RD) today, citing default on bond payments due on November 2 and October 27 of this year. According to Fitch, the default was caused by “processing delays” that resulted in creditors receiving payment “up to one week after the due date”.
According to Fitch, a debtor enters restricted default when they have failed to make a payment on time but have not declared bankruptcy and are otherwise operating.
The agency also downgraded the state-owned CORPOELEC electrical utility company to “restricted default” over the delayed interest payment that should have been made on November 9.
EU Unanimously Approves Sanctions, Weapons Ban Against Maduro Regime
The European Union approved a weapons embargo and economic sanctions against the Maduro regime today, citing the fraudulent nature of the October 15 gubernatorial elections. The sanctions were approved unanimously by all 28 of the EU’s foreign ministers.
While the weapons embargo will go into effect immediately, the economic sanctions were deliberately left for a later day with the goal of implementing them in “a gradual and flexible manner that can be expanded”, according to a statement by the EU.
The weapons embargo will particularly affect purchases from Britain, which sold Venezuelan $1.83 million worth of weapons between 2010 and this year. Venezuela joins Syria and North Korea on the EU’s weapons embargo list.
The economic sanctions will target individuals that the EU believes have been responsible for the violation of human rights in the country, and would freeze their assets and prohibit their travel to the EU.
PSUV/MUD Dialogue in Jeopardy as Regime Rejects Foreign Assistance
After the news last week that the ruling PSUV party and the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc would meet for a new set of talks in the Dominican Republic starting this Wednesday, the event is now in danger of not taking place at all.
The danger comes from the fact that the MUD has stated that it will not attend the Wednesday talks unless representatives from other countries also attend. According to the MUD, this requirement is vital for the talks to succeed, since international assistance will help to guarantee that the PSUV argues in good faith.
Yesterday, Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez signaled his displeasure at the MUD’s insistence on international participation in the talks, and suggested that the PSUV would not agree to that condition. Speaking during Maduro’s weekly television show, Rodriguez said:
They’re starting to put conditions on us. We want to tell them: we will always go to the dialogue table without any conditions, without allowing meddling from any foreign country. The countries that we have defined as friends are accompanying us.
The Maduro regime’s list of friends is rapidly dwindling. The regime has selected Bolivia and Nicaragua as its international representatives at the talks. The MUD has said that Mexico, Chile and Paraguay will be joining the talks, along with the member states of the Lima Group, which include Canada and Colombia, all countries that the regime considers hostile.
Official Figures Show Lowest Oil Production Figures in 30 Years
An oil production report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) released today contains official figures from Venezuelan government showing that oil production in the country fell to less than 2 million barrels per day in October, the lowest figure since 1989.
Monthly production reports from OPEC contain two different production figures: one comes from the official state source, and another comes from external sources. The purpose of the two figures is to allow readers the ability to discern when an official source might be manipulating its production numbers.
According to the report, Venezuela reported an average production of 1.955 million barrels of oil per day, down 130,000 barrels from September. External sources reported a production of 1.863 million barrels during the same month.
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