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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:23 pm 
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DJPrepper wrote:
Venezuela is ditching the Dollar, that has often been a prelude to some further events :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-15/venezuela-begins-publishing-oil-basket-price-yuan


Venezuela will crash & burn. It will be pure horror.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:32 am 
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MPMalloy wrote:
DJPrepper wrote:
Venezuela is ditching the Dollar, that has often been a prelude to some further events :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-15/venezuela-begins-publishing-oil-basket-price-yuan


Venezuela will crash & burn. It will be pure horror.


*Venezuela is crashing & burning. It is a horror being burdened by the people.

Fixed that for you. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:35 am 
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It's kind of like Zimbabwe, without as much Western support for the failure to move full speed ahead. Also there is oil there which allows them to keep the state functioning even when the people starve.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:41 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:
It's kind of like Zimbabwe, without as much Western support for the failure to move full speed ahead. Also there is oil there which allows them to keep the state functioning even when the people starve.


The ditching of the U.S. Dollar for oil trades is an interesting new twist.

Venezuelan oil is tar heavy and not many refineries are set up for it, the closest large scale processing available is in ... the U.S. and that's why despite all the rhetoric the oil has kept going that way.

If they want to sell oil to others, they first need to blend it, and in part that has been done by importing Algerian (lighter) oil, and then re-exporting the combined product to Asia.

In the meantime production continues to drop off due to a lack of investment and mismanagement / politics.

All together a complicated mix.

Why it hasn't completely crashed yet is the big question.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:55 pm 
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China will support them for a while. Since oil is going in to steep decline in importance in china I don't know how long that will be.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:01 pm 
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DJPrepper wrote:
Stercutus wrote:
It's kind of like Zimbabwe, without as much Western support for the failure to move full speed ahead. Also there is oil there which allows them to keep the state functioning even when the people starve.


The ditching of the U.S. Dollar for oil trades is an interesting new twist.

Venezuelan oil is tar heavy and not many refineries are set up for it, the closest large scale processing available is in ... the U.S. and that's why despite all the rhetoric the oil has kept going that way.

If they want to sell oil to others, they first need to blend it, and in part that has been done by importing Algerian (lighter) oil, and then re-exporting the combined product to Asia.

In the meantime production continues to drop off due to a lack of investment and mismanagement / politics.

All together a complicated mix.

Why it hasn't completely crashed yet is the big question.
China was loaning them money for a while. Venezuela was repaying to loans with oil. I haven't heard anything lately about Chinese loans to Venezuela.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:21 pm 
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Looks like they can't pay anymore :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/venezuela-bankrupt-caracas-fails-make-interest-sept-15-interest-payment


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That said, since 2009, Venezuela has borrowed at least $60 billion from China (through the Venezuelan-China fund) in exchange for selling oil at a discounted price. Loans were used to pay foreign manufacturers and repay external debt, such as in 2015. This exchange of good practices persisted as long as oil prices were quite high and Venezuela’s political situation was fairly stable. Since 2016, China has made a strategic move to reduce exposure to Venezuela which resulted in the repatriation of Chinese oil engineers (who filled local labour shortages), the end of financial aid, and reduced oil imports.

In this context, it may be unlikely that Venezuela will be able to count on China for repayment of its loans, which as we said last week, increases the probability of sovereign default in the medium term and may have manifested itself in what may be an event of default in just over three weeks if the Sept. 15 coupon payment grace period expires without the country transferring the required funds.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:29 pm 
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DJPrepper wrote:
Looks like they can't pay anymore :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/venezuela-bankrupt-caracas-fails-make-interest-sept-15-interest-payment


Quote:
That said, since 2009, Venezuela has borrowed at least $60 billion from China (through the Venezuelan-China fund) in exchange for selling oil at a discounted price. Loans were used to pay foreign manufacturers and repay external debt, such as in 2015. This exchange of good practices persisted as long as oil prices were quite high and Venezuela’s political situation was fairly stable. Since 2016, China has made a strategic move to reduce exposure to Venezuela which resulted in the repatriation of Chinese oil engineers (who filled local labour shortages), the end of financial aid, and reduced oil imports.

In this context, it may be unlikely that Venezuela will be able to count on China for repayment of its loans, which as we said last week, increases the probability of sovereign default in the medium term and may have manifested itself in what may be an event of default in just over three weeks if the Sept. 15 coupon payment grace period expires without the country transferring the required funds.

The Iron Lady was right.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:49 pm 
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MPMalloy wrote:
DJPrepper wrote:
The Iron Lady was right.

I miss Maggie...

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:48 pm 
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LowKey wrote:
MPMalloy wrote:
DJPrepper wrote:
The Iron Lady was right.

I miss Maggie...


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:51 am 
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From CNBC: Venezuela oil giant's 'radio silence' before a $1 billion debt payment is freaking out the market
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Venezuela oil giant's 'radio silence' before a $1 billion debt payment is freaking out the market

Venezuela's state-owned oil company has not issued a statement on a major debt payment one day before it comes due.

Bonds issued by the firm, PDVSA, and the Venezuelan government fell as the "radio silence" rattled the market.

PDVSA bondholders reported receiving only one of two interest payments they were expecting, sowing confusion about the firm's ability to pay.

By Tom DiChristopher | @tdichristopher Published 10 Hours Ago Updated 4 Hours Ago CNBC.com

Concern spread through the market on Thursday as Venezuela's state oil company offered no sign that it will make a critical debt payment due Friday ( Friday, 27 October, 2017).

Bonds issued by Petroleos de Venezuela SA and the Venezuelan government rallied just two days earlier on a report that the oil giant, also known as PDVSA, had made good on two overdue bond payments and had approved Friday's nearly $985 million debt payment.

But by Thursday, PDVSA had not issued a press release or tweeted to confirm the news, as it typically does. Multiple sources also said only one of the two overdue debt payments had been paid.

"PDVSA and the government have been quiet, very quiet on it," said Raymond Zucaro, chief investment officer at emerging markets investment firm RVX Asset Management.

"The radio silence is deafening," he told CNBC.

Sen. Marco Rubio: Venezuela is 'incompetent, dictatorial' and its moment is coming 9:02 AM ET Tue, 24 Oct 2017 | 00:36

The Friday payment is backed by a 50.1 percent stake in PDVSA's Houston-based refiner Citgo and has no grace period. That means Venezuela could lose control of a crown jewel of its lifeblood energy industry if it defaults. President Nicolas Maduro has clung to power despite a full-blown economic crisis, but a default is seen as hastening the demise of his regime.

Investors are doubly concerned about the Friday payment because PDVSA owes another $1.2 billion in principal and interest on another bond on Nov. 2.

"If they default, that means they're defaulting on everything," said Russ Dallen, managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets, which runs the Venezuela Opportunity Fund.

On Thursday, PDVSA's 2017N bond fell 5.1 points, to 89 cents on the dollar, while Venezuela's 2019 bond dropped 3.1 points, to 43 cents on the dollar, according to Reuters.

PDVSA has missed seven interest payments totaling $586 million this month, though they have 30-day grace periods. On Tuesday, macroeconomic research firm Ecoanalitica reported that PDVSA would make two interest payments for bonds maturing in 2027 and 2037.

@ecoanalitica: #BreakingNews Venezuela's government recently paid the interests corresponding to PDVSA 27 and 37 bonds due to oct 12

@ecoanalitica: #BreakingNews The funds regarding the PDVSA 20 (capital + interests) is already approved, so it should become efective by friday

Dallen said several of his firm's clients had been paid interest on the 2037 bonds but had not received the interest payments on the 2027 bonds. Several traders told Reuters the same.

That raised concerns that U.S. sanctions imposed earlier this year on Venezuela are creating technical problems getting money to bondholders.

However, PDVSA likely wouldn't have been able to make either payment if sanctions-related problems were the issue, according to Dallen. He said he was concerned because the interest payment PDVSA made was a relatively small $41 million.

"Of all seven bonds they had to pay, that was the cheapest," he said. "It's starting to look like there may be something else wrong."

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:23 pm 
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A small update...

http://www.pdvsa.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8482:pdvsa-demonstrates-strong-operational-and-financial-capacity-by-paying-2020-bond&catid=10:news&Itemid=908&lang=en

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PDVSA DEMONSTRATES STRONG OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL CAPACITY BY PAYING 2020 BOND

Friday, 27 October 2017

Caracas.- Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) shows again its strong operational and financial capacity through the payment of principal to bondholders of PDVSA 2020 with a coupon of 8.5%, as Bolívar’s homeland continues to strengthen financially.

PDVSA confirms its full solvency and capacity to meet its commitments, despite the economic war, unjustified imposition of sanctions by Donald Trump, and the sabotage, persecution and financial blockade to which the Republic and its institutions have been subjected by a significant portion of the international financial system as commanded by imperialism.

Notwithstanding the illegal and illegitimate sanctions and the open hostile attitude of financial blockade, PDVSA announces that bank transfers have already begun for the payment of principal of PDVSA 2020 Bond for a total amount of USD 841.88 million to the accounts at J.P. Morgan bank.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, through PDVSA, has consistently honored its obligations, thus proving wrong the doomsayers that bet on the economic ruin of the country and attack the Venezuelan people, conspiring with the world economic oligarchy, with the intention of destabilizing and attempting to sabotage the economic progress of the Bolivarian Government.

PDVSA, as a leading company in the development of the national economy, thus ratifies its responsibility to investors, the international community and the Venezuelan people, demonstrating with facts that the Siembra Petrolera Plan introduced by Commander Chávez is the instrument to promote the construction of a new economic model that is more equitable, balanced and sustainable to combat poverty and social exclusion.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:16 pm 
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Dabster wrote:
A small update...

http://www.pdvsa.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8482:pdvsa-demonstrates-strong-operational-and-financial-capacity-by-paying-2020-bond&catid=10:news&Itemid=908&lang=en

Quote:
PDVSA DEMONSTRATES STRONG OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL CAPACITY BY PAYING 2020 BOND

Friday, 27 October 2017

Caracas.- Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) shows again its strong operational and financial capacity through the payment of principal to bondholders of PDVSA 2020 with a coupon of 8.5%, as Bolívar’s homeland continues to strengthen financially.

PDVSA confirms its full solvency and capacity to meet its commitments, despite the economic war, unjustified imposition of sanctions by Donald Trump, and the sabotage, persecution and financial blockade to which the Republic and its institutions have been subjected by a significant portion of the international financial system as commanded by imperialism.

Notwithstanding the illegal and illegitimate sanctions and the open hostile attitude of financial blockade, PDVSA announces that bank transfers have already begun for the payment of principal of PDVSA 2020 Bond for a total amount of USD 841.88 million to the accounts at J.P. Morgan bank.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, through PDVSA, has consistently honored its obligations, thus proving wrong the doomsayers that bet on the economic ruin of the country and attack the Venezuelan people, conspiring with the world economic oligarchy, with the intention of destabilizing and attempting to sabotage the economic progress of the Bolivarian Government.

PDVSA, as a leading company in the development of the national economy, thus ratifies its responsibility to investors, the international community and the Venezuelan people, demonstrating with facts that the Siembra Petrolera Plan introduced by Commander Chávez is the instrument to promote the construction of a new economic model that is more equitable, balanced and sustainable to combat poverty and social exclusion.

I just ate so I'm trying not to vomit.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:33 am 
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From CNBC: Venezuela fails to pay on sovereign bonds, industry group says
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Venezuela fails to pay on sovereign bonds, industry group says

Venezuela's delayed payments on its sovereign debt and bonds issued by state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela constitutes a failure to pay "credit event," the International Swaps and Derivatives Association determined on Thursday.

That means holders of so-called credit default swaps can cash in on the derivatives.

By Tom DiChristopher | @tdichristopher Published 4 Hours Ago CNBC.com

A securities committee has paved the way for investors who bought insurance against a Venezuelan debt default to collect on the policies.

Venezuela's delayed payments on its sovereign debt and bonds issued by state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela constitutes a failure to pay "credit event," the International Swaps and Derivatives Association determined on Thursday.

The determination that a credit event had occurred, made by an ISDA committee of 15 financial firms, was unanimous. It means holders of so-called credit default swaps can cash in on the derivatives.

Credit default swaps are typically purchased by bondholders who want protection in the event that the debt issuer defaults. They are also purchased by investors who believe a default will occur and want to profit from the credit event.

There is about $1.3 billion in outstanding credit default swaps for Venezuelan sovereign debt and about $250 million for PDVSA, as the state oil company is known, according to Caracas Capital.

Last month, Venezuela started skipping several interest payments in the lead-up to two critical principal payments totaling nearly $2 billion.

The 30-day grace period on the interest payments ended this week. Questions have also lingered over whether PDVSA had defaulted on $1.1 billion in principal due Nov. 2 because some bondholders did not receive their payment within three business days of the due date.

It was not immediately clear which notes triggered the credit event. ISDA said it would offer more details on Monday.

An auction that will determine how much credit default swap holders will be paid is also scheduled for Monday.

By Tom DiChristopher CNBC Energy Reporter

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:32 pm 
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From ABC (Australia): Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro to launch oil-backed cryptocurrency to combat US financial 'blockade'
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Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro to launch oil-backed cryptocurrency to combat US financial 'blockade'

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said his country will launch a cryptocurrency to combat a US-led financial "blockade", although he provided few clues about how the economically crippled OPEC member would pull off the feat.

"Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency … the 'petro', to advance issues of monetary sovereignty, make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade," Mr Maduro said during his weekly televised broadcast.

The digital currency will be backed by Venezuelan reserves of gold, oil, gas and diamonds, he said during the near five-hour show, which included traditional Christmas songs and dancing.

"The 21st century has arrived!" Mr Maduro added to cheers, without providing specifics about the currency launch.

Opposition leaders scorned the announcement, which they said needed congressional approval, and some cast doubt on whether the digital currency would ever see the light of day in tumultuous Venezuela.

"It's Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility," opposition politician and economist Angel Alvarado said.

Still, the announcement highlights how US sanctions this year are hurting Venezuela's ability to move money through international banks.

Mr Maduro's move away from the US dollar comes after the recent spectacular rise of bitcoin, which has been fuelled by signs that the digital currency is slowly gaining traction in the mainstream investment world.

Cryptocurrencies typically are not backed by any government or central banks.

Bitcoin already has a strong following among tech-savvy Venezuelans looking to bypass dysfunctional economic controls to obtain dollars or make internet purchases.

Venezuela's traditional currency, meanwhile, is in freefall.

Currency controls and excessive money printing have led to a 57 per cent depreciation of the bolivar against the dollar in the last month alone on the widely used black market.

For the millions of Venezuelans plunged into poverty and struggling to eat three meals a day, Mr Maduro's announcement is unlikely to bring any immediate relief.

Economists and opposition leaders say the leftist Mr Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, has recklessly refused to overhaul Venezuela's controls and stem the economic meltdown.

He could now be seeking to pay bondholders and foreign creditors in the currency amid a plan to restructure the country's major debt burden, opposition leaders said, but the plan is likely to flop.

Reuters

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:39 pm 
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Venezuela soccer coach fired after denouncing malnutrition

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/2017/11/29/venezuela-soccer-coach-fired-after-denouncing-malnutrition/108123672/


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The coach of Venezuela's under-20 women's national soccer team has been fired after claiming that his players were suffering from malnutrition in the crisis-wracked nation.

The Venezuelan Soccer Federation said in a statement Tuesday that it was firing Kenneth Zseremeta because of the squad's poor on-the-field performance. Despite being favored to win, the team finished third out of five at the Bolivarian Games this month in Colombia.

After the competition, the Panamanian-born Zseremeta praised the players for their on-field grit in the face of what he described as a "tremendously" poor state of nutrition.

"When they give me the test results showing malnutrition, I start to tear up," Zseremeta said in remarks broadcast on Globovision.

The comments touched a nerve among Venezuelans who are struggling to feed themselves as the oil-rich economy craters under triple-digit inflation and widespread food and medicine shortages. But Venezuelan soccer authorities dismissed the idea, saying that top-flight players like the women on the national squad are largely insulated from the country's food crisis and eat five meals a day when training for competitions.

At least seven players on the team suffered from either malnutrition or were at nutritional risk, according to an undated medical report allegedly prepared by Venezuela's sports ministry and published by local newspaper El Nacional. The Associated Press was unable to verify the authenticity of the report.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:10 pm 
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From Reuters: Venezuela's Ramirez attacks efforts to link him to corruption
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Venezuela's Ramirez attacks efforts to link him to corruption By Marianna Parraga

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Venezuela’s former oil czar Rafael Ramirez said on Wednesday the government would make one of its “worst political moves” if investigators target him in an anti-corruption purge, which is gaining traction ahead of the country’s 2018 presidential election.

Friction between Ramirez and President Nicolas Maduro reflect growing rifts in the Socialist Party once firmly united under late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. This comes amid a deep economic recession and financial sanctions imposed by the United States on what it considers a “dictatorship.”

Ramirez, who spoke with Reuters from an undisclosed location after being pushed out last week as Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, said he is waiting for the right time to return to his country.

The 54-year-old engineer also said he has not yet decided if he will launch a run in the 2018 Venezuelan presidential election, in which Maduro is expected to seek another term.

Ramirez, who led state-run oil company PDVSA for a decade under Chavez, said he has not been approached by Venezuelan or U.S. prosecutors investigating corruption cases linked to PDVSA and its subsidiaries. Some of those probes focus on incidents that occurred under his watch as one of Chavez’ longest serving officials.

“I have not been involved in any act of corruption. I have been very careful to follow internal control mechanisms,” he said.

Thus far, the expanding corruption probe by the state prosecutor’s office has resulted in authorities accusing over 100 people, including two former PDVSA presidents who also served as oil ministers under Maduro.

Ramirez said he is prepared to fight back if investigators target him or his close family, some of whom served as advisors of the Venezuelan government in international arbitration cases.

“That scenario would be offbeat. Who aims to attack my family is going to find me,” he said. He added that he trusts Venezuelan institutions will confirm his family members have faithfully served Venezuela, not charging the government for their work.

One of Ramirez’s relatives, Diego Salazar, was detained last week under accusations of corruption and money laundering.

Still, Ramirez said accusations from corruption scandals should not be taken lightly because they hurt PDVSA’s reputation and its ability to recover from a deep production decline. The country’s oil output has fallen this year to its lowest level in almost three decades, down 1 million barrels per day from its 2013 level.

But he also criticized the government’s focus on PDVSA in its corruption accusations, while excluding public institutions that oversaw a long-standing currency control system used to convert and distribute billions of dollars coming from exports.

The company should be investigated without subjecting its employees to a “moral lynching,” he said. “I will believe that a corruption probe is genuine when it includes the whole Venezuelan economy.”

Ramirez in 2014 submitted an economic plan to the government before moving to his position in the United Nations. But no action was taken due to the central government’s lack of confidence in him, he said.

In the following years, the government’s failure to take needed actions, which also has been criticized by analysts and the opposition, have led to a greater financial instability, spiraling inflation and mounting debt, which Maduro is now struggling to restructure.

“Economic action has to be taken with urgency,” he said. A lack of motivation among PDVSA’s workers, delayed crude output due to infrastructure problems and a very low currency exchange rate impacting PDVSA’s cash flow also have to be addressed, he said.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga; editing by Ernest Scheyder and Diane Craft

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:33 pm 
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From CBC - The World This Hour (Podcast): The Venezuelan government has declared the Canadian Charge d' Affairs & the Brazilian ambassador both persona non grata. This is the first step in being expelled from a country. The given reason was, basically, insulting the Venezuelan government. Looked at another way, it could be for a lack of ass-kissing.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:54 pm 
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From Reuters: Venezuelans scramble to survive as merchants demand dollars
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By Eyanir Chinea, Maria Ramirez

CARACAS/CIUDAD GUAYANA, Venezuela (Reuters) - There was no way Jose Ramon Garcia, a food transporter in Venezuela, could afford new tires for his van at $350 each.

Whether he opted to pay in U.S. currency or in the devalued local bolivar currency at the equivalent black market price, Garcia would have had to save up for years.

Though used to expensive repairs, this one was too much and put him out of business. “Repairs cost an arm and a leg in Venezuela,” said the now-unemployed 42-year-old Garcia, who has a wife and two children to support in the southern city of Guayana.

“There’s no point keeping bolivars.”

For a decade and a half, strict exchange controls have severely limited access to dollars. A black market in hard currency has spread in response, and as once-sky-high oil revenue runs dry, Venezuela’s economy is in free-fall.

The practice adopted by gourmet and design stores in Caracas over the last couple of years to charge in dollars to a select group of expatriates or Venezuelans with access to greenbacks is fast spreading.

Food sellers, dental and medical clinics, and others are starting to charge in dollars or their black market equivalent - putting many basic goods and services out of reach for a large number of Venezuelans.

According to the opposition-led National Assembly, November’s rise in prices topped academics’ traditional benchmark for hyperinflation of more than 50 percent a month - and could end the year at 2,000 percent. The government has not published inflation data for more than a year.

“I can’t think in bolivars anymore, because you have to give a different price every hour,” said Yoselin Aguirre, 27, who makes and sells jewelry in the Paraguana peninsula and has recently pegged prices to the dollar. “To survive, you have to dollarize.”

The socialist government of the late president Hugo Chavez in 2003 brought in the strict controls in order to curb capital flight, as the wealthy sought to move money out of Venezuela after a coup attempt and major oil strike the previous year.

Oil revenue was initially able to bolster artificial exchange rates, though the black market grew and now is becoming unmanageable for the government.

President Nicolas Maduro has maintained his predecessor’s policies on capital controls. Yet, the spread between the strongest official rate, of some 10 bolivars per dollar, and the black market rate, of around 110,000 per dollar, is now huge.

While sellers see a shift to hard currency as necessary, buyers sometimes blame them for speculating.

Rafael Vetencourt, 55, a steel worker in Ciudad Guayana, needed a prostate operation priced at $250.

“We don’t earn in dollars. It’s abusive to charge in dollars!” said Vetencourt, who had to decimate his savings to pay for the surgery.

In just one year, Venezuela’s currency has weakened 97.5 per cent against the greenback, meaning $1,000 of local currency purchased then would be worth just $25 now.

Maduro blames black market rate-publishing websites such as DolarToday for inflating the numbers, part of an “economic war” he says is designed by the opposition and Washington to topple him.

On Venezuela’s borders with Brazil and Colombia, the prices of imported oil, eggs and wheat flour vary daily in line with the black market price for bolivars.

In an upscale Caracas market, cheese-filled arepas, the traditional breakfast made with corn flour, increased 65 percent in price in just two weeks, according to tracking by Reuters reporters. In the same period, a kilogram of ham jumped a whopping 171 percent.

The runaway prices have dampened Christmas celebrations, which this season were characterized by shortages of pine trees and toys, as well as meat, chicken and cornmeal for the preparation of typical dishes.

In one grim festive joke, a Christmas tree in Maracaibo, the country’s oil capital and second city, was decorated with virtually worthless low-denomination bolivar bills.

Most Venezuelans, earning just $5 a month at the black market rate, are nowhere near being able to save hard currency.

“How do I do it? I earn in bolivars and have no way to buy foreign currency,” said Cristina Centeno, a 31-year-old teacher who, like many, was seeking remote work online before Christmas in order to bring in some hard currency.

Additional reporting by Andreina Aponte and Leon Wietfeld in Caracas, Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal, Lenin Danieri in Maracaibo; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Leslie Adler

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Matthew Paul Malloy
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"When society is experiencing severe disruptions, or is being completely interrupted, people have the responsibility to handle their own and their nearest relatives' fundamental needs for a while."


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:27 am 
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The other thing is that the oil reserves that Venezuela claims are highly suspect. They used to be way down the list in terms of proven oil reserves (which is self-reported by each country). Suddenly under Chavez, they reported that their reserves were greater than Canada's and just under those of Saudi Arabia making them second overall.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:30 am 
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MPMalloy wrote:
From CBC - The World This Hour (Podcast): The Venezuelan government has declared the Canadian Charge d' Affairs & the Brazilian ambassador both persona non grata. This is the first step in being expelled from a country. The given reason was, basically, insulting the Venezuelan government. Looked at another way, it could be for a lack of ass-kissing.


We have apparently retaliated and expelled two high level Venezuelan diplomats including their ambassador.

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roscoe wrote:
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:28 pm 
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Caracas shops mobbed as Venezuela's Maduro forces price cuts
By Alexandra Ulmer Via Reuters

CARACAS (Reuters) - Mobs gathered outside some Caracas supermarkets on Saturday after the government ordered shops to slash prices, creating chaos as desperate Venezuelans leapt at the chance to buy cheaper food as the country’s worsening economy causes severe shortages.

The leftist administration of President Nicolas Maduro ordered more than 200 supermarkets to cut prices back to last month’s levels - a tall order in a country where many prices change daily due to the world’s fastest inflation rate.

News of the discounts spread like wildfire, leading hundreds to mass in front of stores before daybreak. When one major supermarket in wealthier eastern Caracas did not open for hours, people began pounding on the storefront.

“We’re hungry! We want food!” screamed the crowd, which included babies, pensioners and children with disabilities.

“This scares me, but what can I do?” said Francisco Guaita, a carpenter hoping to find food for his three children, over the shouts and pushes. “This is the worst government. We want Maduro out.”

Critics say Maduro is playing with fire in the oil-rich nation, where millions are unable to eat three square meals a day and malnutrition is on the rise, saying his policy will dissuade supermarkets from stocking their shelves and could trigger looting.

The socialist, who was narrowly elected to replace the late Hugo Chavez in 2013, counters that he is a victim of a U.S.-led “economic war” in which businesses hoard food and stoke prices to destabilize his government.

The state agency in charge of ensuring “fair prices” ordered some 214 supermarkets owned by 26 chains to drop their prices, pro-government newspaper Ultimas Noticias reported on Saturday.

“This Tuesday we received an accusation and we deployed immediately. We confirmed that the big chains were increasing prices without any justification, because they were doing it for products that were in stock, not new ones,” William Contreras, the head of the agency known as Sundde, told the paper.

Several Venezuelans interviewed in line outside the supermarket in eastern Caracas said they thought Maduro’s policies were a disaster. But they still planned to take advantage of lower prices because they were not able to properly feed their families otherwise.

“It’s bad policy. But we have to eat,” said Edgar Romero, a 45-year-old drummer who supported Chavez but said he has soured on Maduro, as he stood in line under the sizzling sun.

Armed National Guard soldiers later arrived at the store and ordered people into clear lines, warning that they would not be allowed in otherwise. They eventually let the crowd through in small groups just before midday, but people quickly emerged disappointed as only crackers and washing liquid were discounted.

“I can’t feed my kids with this,” said Jesus Gudino, a 29-year-old moto-taxi driver and father of three, sneering at the small plastic bag in his hand. “I’ve been here since 4 a.m. This is a mockery. What can I do? I have to leave this country.”

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:18 am 
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From Reuters: Venezuela government, opposition conclude talks without agreement
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SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - Members of Venezuela’s leftist government and opposition leaders concluded a round of talks in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, failing to reach a deal to address the country’s political and economic crisis.

Saying they had made strides but needed more time, the parties announced another round of talks to begin in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 18.

The result prolongs the standoff between the government and the opposition, who have tried and failed for years to strike a pact. The two sides last met for talks in December.

Nevertheless, Dominican President Danilo Medina, who led the negotiations, expressed optimism about the progress made during the round.

“Although we have made extremely important advances, we still have pending matters that must be discussed,” he said at a press conference following the end of the talks.

Representatives from Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Nicaragua also participated in the discussions.

The parties did not detail where they had made progress.

As millions of Venezuelans grapple with shortages of food and basic goods, the opposition leaders are demanding that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accept humanitarian assistance from abroad, in addition to releasing several hundred jailed political activists.

“These days and hours of intense work are not enough to achieve what our people, the Venezuelan people, need to have an avenue, a path of hope,” said Julio Borges, who is the president of the country’s National Assembly that is controlled by the opposition, at the press conference.

For its part, the government wants the opposition’s help in pushing for the elimination of sanctions levied last year by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

Reporting by Jorge Pineda in SANTO DOMINGO; additional reporting by Julia Love and Sharay Angulo in MEXICO CITY; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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Dragon Savers!
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"When society is experiencing severe disruptions, or is being completely interrupted, people have the responsibility to handle their own and their nearest relatives' fundamental needs for a while."


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