Venezuelan Daily Brief

Published in association with The DVA Group and The Selinger Group, the Venezuelan Daily Brief provides bi-weekly summaries of key news items affecting bulk commodities and the general business environment in Venezuela.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015


International Trade

 

Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello

  • Over 2,990 tons of doors, windows and upholstered wooden chairs from China for state agency CORPOVEX
  • Over 580 tons of milk in 20 containers from Argentina for state agency CASA
  • Over 400 tons of auto parts from China's Ica International and Chery Automobile for Corporation ZGT
  • Over 247 tons of cheese, cottage cheese and other dairy products, from Argentina for CASA
  • Over 121 tons of refined paraffin wax from China for Industria Cerera La Coromoto
  • Over 108 tons of assorted merchandise, including apparel, lingerie, sheets, fabric, shoes, sandals and appliances from Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone.
Only three vessels are currently offloading at Puerto Cabello, two of them bearing bulk. More in Spanish: (Notitarde; http://www.notitarde.com/La-Costa/Mas-de-580-toneladas-de-leche-arribaron-al-puerto-de-Puerto-Cabello-2397718/2015/04/21/507507; http://www.notitarde.com/La-Costa/Llegaron-mas-de-400-toneladas-de-autopartes-al-puerto-local-2399780/2015/04/23/507863/)

 

 

Logistics & Transport

 

Arrest of former Aquatic and Air Transport Minister ordered over ferry acquisition

A warrant has been issued to INTERPOL for the arrest of former Major General Herbert García-Plaza, former Minister of Aquatic and Air Transport, for irregularities in the purchase of three ferries during his tenure. The three ferries were bought by the national port authority (BOLIPUERTOS) to cover the Puerto La Cruz-Margarita Island route, as authorized by former Minister Major General Hébert García Plaza, and were 12 years old. To repair them cost five times (€241.5 million) what they cost originally (€45.7 million). None was ever operational. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43621&idc=3¡; and more in Spanish: El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150422/ordenan-captura-del-exministro-herbert-garcia-plaza)

 

 

Oil & Energy

 

Venezuela oil delegation meets Qatar officials on OPEC tour

Oil Minister Asdrubal Chavez led a Venezuelan delegation in Qatar for meetings with local officials following similar talks in Iran and Saudi Arabia on an OPEC tour seeking ways to boost crude prices, according to a government statement. So far unable to nudge Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies into supporting supply cuts, Venezuela is exploring various options to boost its position including a proposal to blend its heavy crude with OPEC allies' light grades. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/22/qatar-venezuela-oil-idUSL1N0XJ1HZ20150422; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150422/venezuelan-delegation-discusses-in-qatar-opecs-oil-output)

 

 

Commodities

 

Industry here are operating at 50% capacity

The National Council of Industries reports a drop to 50% operating capacity during the first quarter this year. 78% of industries report their inventories have diminished and they were unable to replace them.  More in Spanish:  (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150422/sector-industrial-funciona-a-50-de-su-capacidad; El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Industrias-producen-capacidad-instalada-hace_0_614338723.html)

 

Government debt with pharmaceutical labs rose US$ 500 million this year to US$ 4 billion, according to a source within the sector. He claimed the government had only allocated dollars three times so far this year but that they had not been enough. The source said all the dollars allocated were barely 5% of the total debt with each company. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43623&idc=2)

 

 

Economy & Finance

 

Central Bank swaps U$S 1 billion gold reserves with CITIBANK for FOREX

Venezuela's Central Bank has swapped almost US$ 1 billion in gold reserves for a loan from CITIBANK. Although details have not been made available, experts estimate CITIBANK is charging 6-7% for the swap. Gold reserves will remain in the Bank of England as a guarantee for the loan. It is reported that the funds are to be used for imports. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)

 

Parallel government funds reported down by 44.3% in one month

Parallel FOREX funds held by the Venezuelan government have dropped 44.3% in one month, from US$ 15.8 billion to US$ 8.8 billion, according to the ECOANALITICA research firm. The National Development Fund now reports US$ 4.2 billion, from US$ 6.5 billion, down 35.3% in one month. PDVSA accounts had a fast descent from US$ 2,4 billion to US$ 6 million, down 75%. Other FOREX funds have dropped by 42%, from US$ 6.9 billion to US$ 4 billion. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)

 

DEUTSCHE BANK insists in Venezuela default projection for 2016

DEUSTSCHE BANK insists Venezuela will default by 2016 since it estimates the deficit is too large to meet. "The market has generally discarded a credit event in 2015, but a default continues to be our base scenario for 2016...the financing gap would simply be too large to cover and distortions will probably evolve toward a more dangerous level". More in Spanish: (El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/banca/deutsche-bank-mantiene-escenario-de--default--para.aspx#ixzz3Y7o8jeOR)

 

Maduro says debt to be honored

President Nicolás Maduro says Venezuela has met its financial obligations despite current conditions and says "we have paid several billion dollars in debt. It is our obligation. He have not defaulted ever nor will we". More in Spanish: (AVN; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/maduro-reiteró-cumplimiento-responsabilidades-naciones-pesar-guerra-económica)

 

Maduro attacks FEDECAMARAS as it reports Venezuela owes foreign suppliers US$ 10 billion

President Nicolás Maduro has stepped up his attacks on the private business sector. Following a report by Jorge Roig, President of the nation's premier business organization, FECECÁMARAS, that Venezuelan importers and private companies have racked up arrears of around US$ 10 billion with international suppliers due to delays in the government's allocation of hard currency, Maduro immediately announced that no more dollars would be sold to FEDECÁMARAS, for they have allegedly masterminded the so-called "economic war" against his government by "manipulating product distribution". Over the last couple of days, Maduro has been threatening and intimidating the nation’s entrepreneurs with having a new enabling law enacted soon and sending all of them to prison. He announced that he is making final adjustments to a special "counteroffensive plan" through which he will "wipe the floor" with alleged destabilization plans, and that he will unveil the details on May 1. Nicolás Maduro's statements could imply that the flow of dollars sold to the private sector companies affiliated to FEDECÁMARAS could shrink even more. Specialists and advisors warned that such measure could seriously harm supply of goods and services in the country. The director of polling firm DATANÁLISIS, Luis Vicente León, believes Maduro's remarks were more political than practical. He says the attack on FEDECÁMARAS "seems like a political distraction strategy" in view of the upcoming parliamentary elections, but adds that this course of action "makes the crisis worse. To threaten productive sectors is the worst possible strategy". Roig called Maduro's threats a "show of bravado... which proves discretionary use of FOREX...is a political tool and not one for development". He made it clear that FEDECÁMARAS does not and has never sought FOREX as an institution, and said: "In Venezuela it is a crime to create jobs, in Venezuela those who have inventories are persecuted". Roig adds that the business sector is willing to engage in dialogue with the government, as long as threats against businesspersons stop. "A nation is not built by threatening business". (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/22/us-venezuela-business-idUSKBN0ND2GM20150422; Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2384874&CategoryId=10717; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150422/maduro-no-more-dollars-for-federation-of-chambers-of-commerce; http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150423/analysts-forecast-more-shortages-in-venezuela-if-forex-cuts-continue; http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150422/fedecamaras-a-country-is-not-built-by-threatening-businesspersons and more in Spanish: Infolatam: http://www.infolatam.com/2015/04/23/patronal-tilda-de-bravuconada-de-maduro-anuncio-de-vetar-divisas-a-privados/; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/maduro-iniciara-el-1--de-mayo-un-plan-de--revolcon.aspx#ixzz3Y1yhseHf; http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/empresas/roig--fedecamras-nunca-ha-solicitado-dolares-como-.aspx#ixzz3Y7nn2WIz; http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/empresas/gobierno-y-fedecamaras-reavivan-tensiones.aspx; Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/maduro-anunciara-el-1--de-mayo-un-plan-de-revolcon.aspx; http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/maduro-fedecamaras-no-hay-mas-dolares-para-ustedes.aspx; http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/roig-fedecamaras-nunca-ha-solicitado-dolares-para-.aspx, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/fedecamaras-rechazo-senalamientos-de-maduro.aspx; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150422/presidente-promete-dar-un-revolcon-economico; Diario2001, http://www.2001.com.ve/en-la-agenda/95393/luis-v--leon---ataque-a-fedecamaras-luce-como-una-estrategia-de-distraccion-.html; http://www.2001.com.ve/en-la-agenda/95346/maduro---no-hay-mas-dolares-para-los-pelucones-de-fedecamaras-.html)

 

Government refusal to allocate FOREX will limit production, distribution, jobs

Industry believes President Maduro's saying he will not allocate FOREX to FEDECAMARAS - which comprises most of the nation's formal business - means he intends to suspend allocations to companies since the business organization itself uses no FOREX. Industrial leaders warn that without allocations they will be unable to acquire supplies, keep production lines operating, maintain employment or supply shelves. Pablo Olalquiaga, head of the Chemical and Petrochemical Industry Association, adds "if there is no domestic production the government will have to import more and use more FOREX for imports, and there will be no jobs created". More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)

 

80% of Venezuelans unable to afford food basket

Inflation and high food prices are hitting the life quality of Venezuelans, who cannot fully afford the local basic food basket. According to the results the National Life Conditions Survey (ENCOVI), 80% of Venezuelans said they have not enough money to buy food items. This information was disclosed at the Simón Bolívar University (USB), which carried out the study along with the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB). The cost of the Venezuelan basic food basket keeps growing as it rose 5.2% in March to VEB 15,200.62 (US$ 2,412.79), according to Labor Union's Center for Documentation and Social Analysis (CENDA). The most important rises were in food products such as beef (5.8%); milk, cheese and eggs (5.7%); and fish (7.4%). Out of eleven food items comprising the local basic food basket, 10 soared, including three with the highest rises: oleaginous and leguminous seeds (beans, 30.7%); sugar and sugary products (18.5%); and fats and oils with a 13.4% variation. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150423/eighty-percent-of-venezuelans-unable-to-afford-food-basket; and more in Spanish: El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150423/food-basket-up-52-in-march-in-venezuela)

 

 

Politics and International Affairs

 

Venezuela's population officially pegged at 30.825.782

The National Assembly has approved the population index set by the National Statistics Institute, setting the nation's total population at 30.825.782. More in Spanish: (Diario 2001, http://www.2001.com.ve/con-la-gente/95288/poblacion-de-venezuela-es-oficialmente-de-30-825-782.html)

 

US willing to consider Venezuela's agenda for restoring talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US is willing to consider the steps sought by Venezuela in order to restore diplomatic bilateral talks. He said the US "remains open to work on our differences and try to find areas of common interest". More in Spanish: (AVN; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/eeuu-dispuesto-considerar-pasos-solicitados-venezuela-para-establecer-diálogo; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150422/kerry-eeuu-sigue-abierto-a-dialogar-con-venezuela)

 

Spain doesn’t want to break off relations with Venezuela, FM Says

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo says Spain has no intention of breaking off diplomatic relations with Venezuela, adding that he hopes for “democratic stability and economic prosperity” here.  He says: “We do not intend to continue this escalation, and it is not our purpose to break relations with Venezuela”. Madrid summoned the Spanish ambassador to Caracas for consultations after Maduro's "escalation of insults, calumnies and threats", accusing the Spanish government of "supporting terrorism" here and saying Spanish President Mariano Rajoy is part of  "a group of corrupt bandits and thieves". (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2384834&CategoryId=10717; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150423/spain-we-do-not-intend-to-break-relations-with-venezuela; and more in Spanish: El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Maduro-Espana-apoyar-terrorismo-Venezuela_0_614338762.html; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150423/espana-llamo-a-consulta-al-embajador-antonio-perez)

 

Felipe González: I do not want to cause a conflict in Venezuela

Spain's former president Felipe González says he is willing to visit Venezuela in mid-May, despite the fact that the pro-government majority in the Venezuelan National Assembly has passed a motion declaring him persona non grata. He says he wants to have the opportunity to visit prisoners inside jail and to attend the oral trial as a technical advisor. Gonzalez points out that only the Executive Power, and not the Legislative Power, has the authority to declare someone persona non grata. González and hopes such declaration is not issued in the end. "I intend to go (to Venezuela), but I do not want to cause a conflict" he conceded. Former Latin American presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Ricardo Lagos (Chile), and Julio María Sanguinetti (Uruguay) have voiced their solidarity with González and advocate the right to help politicians "unfairly imprisoned." Gonzalez volunteered to advise the defense team of Venezuelan detained opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150423/felipe-gonzalez-i-do-not-want-to-cause-a-conflict-in-venezuela; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150423/three-ex-presidents-voice-solidarity-with-felipe-gonzalez)

 


The following brief is a synthesis of the news as reported by a variety of media sources. As such, the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Duarte Vivas & Asociados and The Selinger Group.

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015


International Trade

 

Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello

  • Over 566 tons in 26 containers bearing natural rubber and sulphur for the Bridgestone tire manufacturer
  • Over 408  tons of truck parts from Mack in the United States for its local affiliate
  • Over 50 tons of auto parts from Ford for its local affiliate
Only 7 ships are offloading at Puerto Cabello, two of them carrying bulk cargo. More in Spanish: (Notitarde; http://www.notitarde.com/La-Costa/Llegaron-mas-de-458-toneladas-de-autopartes-al-puerto-local-2396875/2015/04/20/507359)

 

 

Oil & Energy

 

PDVSA and partners sell about US$ 75 million per month at new Venezuela FOREX rate

PDVSA is selling about US$ 50 million a month at a new advantageous foreign exchange rate, while joint ventures with foreign partners are putting in a further US$ 25-30 million a month via the SIMADI system, the state oil company's head said. The government created SIMADI in February as a third tier in Venezuela's complex currency controls to allow importers and others to buy dollars at a higher cost in local currency than the other official rates of 6.3 and 12 bolivars per dollar. But local businesses complain that even supply at SIMADI, where the dollar is going for around 197 bolivars, is limited, thus crimping its impact on unblocking access to foreign currency that is hampering Venezuela's recession-hit economy. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-pdvsa-venezuela-forex-idUSKBN0NB00B20150420)

 

PDVSA claims Venezuela oil exports at 2.4-2.5 million barrels per day

Venezuela is currently exporting between 2.4-2.5 million barrels per day from national crude production of around 2.85 million, the head of state oil company PDVSA said. Venezuela's output figures have often conflicted with international agencies, which estimate lower output due to methodological differences about how to count extra-heavy crude. "We are producing right now 2.85 (million) of crude ... We have increased in the last four months 40,000 barrels per day. We plan to increase at the end of this year roughly 100,000 or 120,000 barrels per day, most from the Belt," PDVSA president Eulogio Del Pino said. "We are exporting in the order of 2.4, 2.5 (million)," he added, giving latest data to foreign reporters on a trip to the Orinoco Belt region in recent days. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-venezuela-pdvsa-production-idUSKBN0NB1NF20150420; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150420/del-pino-venezuela-exports-up-to-25-million-bpd)

 

Venezuela proposes novel OPEC oil blending deal to fight for market share

Venezuela has launched talks this month on a novel plan to blend the country's heavy crude with light oil from other OPEC allies, seeking to create a new variety that can compete against swelling U.S. and Canadian supplies. The proposal, which would expand on a pilot scheme involving Algerian oil last year, envisions supplying refineries built for medium-grade crudes rather than the light oil that has become plentiful as a result of the North American shale boom, said the head of state oil company PDVSA, Eulogio del Pino. Del Pino said he raised the idea during the Summit of the Americas in Panama earlier this month and at a meeting with ambassadors from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Caracas last week. He did not specify how other members had responded or what the next steps would be. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-venezuela-pdvsa-opec-idUSKBN0NB00120150420)

 

Venezuela oil price rises above $50

Venezuela's weekly oil basket price continued to rise for a fourth week in a row as oil prices around the world went up on fears of further strife in the middle east as Saudi Arabia continued fighting against Iranian-backed rebels in neighboring Yemen at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. According to figures released by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending April 17 was US$ 50.34, up US$ 2.17 from the previous week's US$ 48.17.  According to Venezuelan government figures, the average price in 2015 for Venezuela's mix of heavy and medium crude is now US$ 45.53. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2384113&CategoryId=10717; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150418/venezuelan-crude-oil-above-usd-50-for-the-first-time-in-more-than-a-mo)

 

Venezuela wants oil firm Harvest out, if it can find deep-pocketed buyer

Venezuela would prefer oil company Harvest Natural Resources Inc to leave, but wants it to sell a project stake to a company with financial muscle to make major investments, state oil company PDVSA said.  Harvest has been seeking to sell its stake in joint venture PETRODELTA following years complaining that PDVSA is not allowing it to collect dividends. Venezuela has blocked two proposals to sell that stake to other companies. The buyer of Harvest's stake should be willing to pay a bonus to the government and put in roughly US$ 600 million over five years to boost PETRODELTA output from 40,000 barrels per day to 100,000 bpd, PDVSA President Eulogio Del Pino said. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-venezuela-pdvsa-harvest-idUSKBN0NB1B920150420)

 

Venezuela, Iran strengthen oil alliance

Once again, Iran and Venezuela have acted jointly against "threats" from the United States and seem determined to coordinate a response to the steady decline of oil prices, during an impromptu visit to Iran be Venezuela's ministers of Foreign Affairs and Petroleum and Mining. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150420/venezuela-iran-refresh-oil-partnerships)

 

 

Economy & Finance

 

IMF projections for Venezuela in 2015, cutting expenses seen as very necessary

The International Monetary Fund has projected its economic figures for Venezuela during, as follows:

  • GDO: -7% (minus 7%), the worst in the entire Hemisphere.
  • Inflation: 96.8% inflation
  • Fiscal deficit 20% of GDP
  • Unemployment: 16.1%, twice that registered in 2014.

The IMF's Chief Economist for Latin America, Alejandro Werner, says the Venezuelan government has the huge challenge of adjusting expenses to income "to avoid current economic adjustment becoming more disorganized, more traumatic, bringing more uncertainty and impacting economic activity further."  More in Spanish: (El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/internacional/fmi--venezuela-necesita-ajustar-gastos-a-menor--1-.aspx#ixzz3XqKXsPsT;  http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/asi-ve-el-fmi-a-la-economia-venezolana-en-lo-que-r.aspx#ixzz3XqKJ7yPn)

 

Venezuela receives US$5 billion in finance from China

Venezuela has received US$5 billion in financing from China, according to President Nicolas Maduro. The money is for "development", he said on Sunday, but gave no details. The announcement comes three months after Maduro travelled to China - a major investor in the region - and at the time said that China would invest more than US$ 20 billion in Venezuela. He did not make clear in Sunday's announcement if these latest US$ 5 billion were part of that larger sum. The funds should be a boost to Venezuela, which has been hit hard by falling oil price. Venezuela managed to renew one of the funding agreements through which it has received US$ 46 billion so far from China, and Venezuela repays in shipments of oil. (BBC, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32381250?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AMorning%20Brief&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150420/venezuela-receives-usd-5-billion-loan-from-china)

 

Guayana's basic industries aim to consolidate socialist model

President Nicolás Maduro says the main objective of Plan Guayana Socialista (Socialist Guayana Plan) is to produce, thrive and boost basic industries to strengthen and support the social model of the Revolution with the aim of improving living standards of the working class. (AVN, http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/guayana039s-basic-industries-entrusted-consolidate-socialist-model)

 

 

Politics and International Affairs

 

El Aissami confirms former Finance Minister in US witness protection

Pro government Aragua state governor Tareck El Aissami says his predecessor Rafael Isea is "a traitor to the Bolivarian revolution" and joined the US protected witness program to "provide garbage information on Venezuela". He accused Isea of being a "bandit" and said that he did not speak out earlier at the request of the late president Chavez.  Rafael Isea is a former military officer who joined Chavez in his 1992 coup attempt and later took part in the 1999 Constitutional Assembly, was a member of the National Assembly, President of the Economic and Social Development Bank, Finance Minister, and governor of Aragua state. He left for the United States in 2013 and joined the DEA witness protection program. Tareck El Aissami, a former Minister of the Interior, has been accused of being part of a drug cartel and of having link to Middle Eastern terrorists. More in Spanish: (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150420/el-aissami-isea-se-acogio-al-programa-de-testigos-protegidos-de-eeuu)

 

Maduro marks second year in office

President Nicolás Maduro marked his second year in office by delivering housing units in Caracas and Vargas state (north-central Venezuela). During the ceremony, he congratulated his supporters for the nomination of the candidates that are to be elected by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on June 28 to run for National Assembly (AN) Deputies. He also commemorated the 205th anniversary of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence. He described his two years in office, which he described as a "hard fight plagued with setbacks caused by a battered, increasingly divided, dull right-wing that is always plotting to harm Venezuela." (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150420/venezuelas-maduro-marks-second-year-in-office)

 

European Union FMs to address Venezuela's situation on Monday

Venezuela's situation will be discussed by the ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union (EU), who will meet on Monday to debate about the relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, among other issues, such as the challenging situation in Yemen and Libya.

The European heads of diplomacy will hold "a general discussion" on how to enhance political links and economic cooperation with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, with a view to preparing the upcoming EU-Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit to be hold next June 10-11 in Brussels. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150420/european-union-fms-to-address-venezuelas-situation-on-monday)

 

Spain's former President Felipe González will visit Venezuela to defend López

The trial against Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López will begin again and the former president of Spain Felipe González will travel to Venezuela soon to join López's defense team in the final stage of the trial. Lopez´s defense attorneys say González will do this pro bono as a technical advisor, and that the court has been notified. González will undertake additional efforts in Venezuela to seek the release of López. The Inter American Human Rights Commission has asked the Venezuelan government to protect the live and personal integrity of both López and imprisoned San Cristóbal former mayor Daniel Ceballos, whom it believes are at high risk. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150420/ex-president-felipe-gonzalez-to-visit-venezuela-to-defend-lopez; and more in Spanish: El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/CIDH-gobierno-proteger-integridad-Lopez_0_613738810.html)

 

UNASUR delegation to attend parliamentary elections in Venezuela

An delegation from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will attend parliamentary elections to be held this year in Venezuela, says Ernesto Samper, secretary of the regional bloc. "We have received a request from the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, to create a delegation to accompany parliamentary elections in Venezuela, and we are engaged in the task of setting it up," he said in a press conference at UNASUR headquarters in Quito, Ecuador. After meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Serguéi Lavrov, Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz has said they both agreed UNASUR "can play a constructive role in dialogue between the government and opposition, and in assisting economic reform." (AVN, http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/unasur-delegation-attend-parliamentary-elections-venezuela); and more in Spanish: El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150421/afirman-que-unasur-puede-ayudar-a-bajar-tensiones-en-el-pais)



The European Union discusses Venezuela

Foreign Ministers of the European Union discussed relations with Latin America and gave special attention to Venezuela. Sources within the Union say it seeks to "maintain contact" and "seek freedom for political prisoners". Spain's Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo says "all the nations that have spoken have shown concern" over Venezuela's political and economic situation. He added that "over a half million European Union nationals are living" in Venezuela and "45% of foreign investments" here are European. More in Spanish: (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150421/ue-dedico-atencion-especial-a-venezuela-colombia-y-cuba)

 

 

The following brief is a synthesis of the news as reported by a variety of media sources. As such, the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Duarte Vivas & Asociados and The Selinger Group.