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.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

November 26, 2015

International Trade

Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 2500 taxi cabs and 300 trucks from China for state agency CORPOVEX
  • 280 containers bearing automobile parts for Chery Venezuela and state agency EMSOVEN (Bolipuertos,
  • 414 tons of whole milk for state agency Corporación de Alimentos y Servicios Agrícolas (CASA)
  • 378 tons of frozen beef for state agency CASA
  • 360 tons of frozen pork for state agency CASA
  • 18 tons of rice for state agency CASA
  • 5 containers of toys for state agency Corporación Venezolana de Comercio Exterior (CORPOVEX)
  • 1027 head of cattle from Nicaragua for state agency Corporación Venezolana de Alimentos (CVAL).
More in Spanish: Bolipuertos,;;;; Notitarde,;;  Agencia Venezolana de Noticias;; El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,


Cargo that has arrived at Bolipuertos La Guaira:

  • 109 containers of Basic foods such as basket: oil, corn, wheat, rice, beans and medicines necessities like toilet paper, soap.
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


Over 800 tons of heavy oil equipment has arrived at Guanta port

854 tons of heavy oil equipment from Korea for PDVSA for the Deep Conversion Refinery in Refinería de Puerto La Cruz. More in Spanish:  (Bolipuertos,; El Universal,; Ultimas Noticias,



Oil & Energy

OPEC not to cut oil output despite possible price drop in 2016

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is determined to maintain a vigorous crude oil output despite the current financial tension as they warned the oil barrel price could fall to USD 20 in 2106. Any change in the policy would be only possible provided that major non-OPEC producers, especially Russia, embrace some coordinated oil output cuts. "Unless non-OPEC member countries state they are willing to help, I think we will have no change," a delegate of an important OPEC producer told Reuters. "The OPEC will not make a cut on its own account," the delegate added. (El Universal,


The Gas Exporting Countries Forum agreed to defend prices and the market stability. They agreed to demand a fair price that defends investments in the only source of “clean energy” that can guarantee the global energy needs and sustainable development in the short term. (Veneconomy,


Nicolás Maduro said he is all for fair prices to stabilize the gas market during his statements at the 3rd Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum. He also said it would be good to retake Hugo Chávez’ pet project, the Southern Gas Pipeline that would take natural gas to all the countries in South America. (Veneconomy,





Australian company produced its first gold ingot in disputed Essequibo region

Australia´s Troy Resources has produced its first gold ingot in a mine within Guyana's Region 7, which is the Essequibo area under dispute with Venezuela. Clinton Williams, head of Guyana's Geology and Mining Commission, says the company "has surpassed all expectations in complying with their mining agreement" and is operating at 40-50% capacity, with full production expected in 2016. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,



Economy & Finance


Maduro awaits elections to launch new economic recovery plan

President Nicolás Maduro says he will launch a plan to grow the nation's economy after the December legislative elections. He also said he will "radicalize the revolution in favor of the people". More in Spanish: (Notitarde,; El Mundo,


Bank of America expects major adjustment in 2016.

In a recently published report, Bank of America Merrill Lynch says: "We expect a major macroeconomic adjustment in 2016, with a large devaluation and correction of large relative price disequilibria. The post-election setting will be conducive to a change in economic policies, especially if a landslide opposition victory leads to a change in government. Debt restructuring could come on the table under a new administration. Main risks. Lack of data raises uncertainty about  fundamentals and liquidity. Exacerbation of relative price disequilibria and deficit monetization can lead to hyperinflation. Suspension of elections or fraud could raise political instability. Continued low oil prices would put added stress on cash flows." At the same time, Francisco Rodríguez, BOFA Representative for the Andean Region has publicly called for unifying foreign exchange rates here, along with creating subsidies for those most impacted.  More in Spanish: (El Universal;; and full BOFA Report: ATTACHED)


Government to extend Income Tax (ISLR) payment waiver for the primary agricultural sector through 2018, says Executive Vice President Jorge Arreaza. The measure does not include the agro-industrial sector. (Veneconomy,


CONINDUSTRIA: Contracting in Venezuela sank in 2015

President of the Venezuelan Industries Confederation (Conindustria) Juan Pablo Olalquiaga reports that hiring by local enterprises has diminished as compared to 2014,. "This is an attempt not to dismiss the personnel (companies) have taken too long to train," he said. "There was not a significant impact in terms of volume of people hired. When there is not any reduction in employees, they (the companies) seek to keep their payrolls with a minimum production volume, which results in the increase (in prices) of the products launched (to the market)," Olalquiaga explains. (El Universal,



Politics and International Affairs


Maduro puts followers on "alert" following opposition rejection of UNASUR proposal

President Nicolás Maduro has asked "chavistas" to be on "alert" following the opposition's rejection of the proposed UNASUR agreement on abiding by election results. He called upon his followers to not "rest upon their laurels". More in Spanish: (Infolatam:


Pro government gangs shoot opposition leader dead on dais during rally

Pro government followers have shot and killed Luis Manuel Díaz, Regional Secretary General of Acción Democratica in Guárico state in a drive by shooting while Díaz was on the dais of a rally along with Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned leader Leopoldo López. The action follows other shooting attacks on opposition campaign activities. UNASUR's Elections Mission condemned the attack and expressed "it's strongest rejection of all types of violence that could hurt the normal development of elections" and called on authorities to determine who was responsible. More in Spanish: (El Universal,; El Nacional,


Opposition to propose an Amnesty Law after winning, will not bring more sectarianism

Venezuela's Democratic Union opposition coalition (MUD) has set forth its priorities in case if secures a majority of the National Assembly in upcoming elections. It says their first move will be to promote an Amnesty Law that frees political prisoners such as Leopoldo López and Metropolitan Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma; and will focus on social and economic matters to seek solutions to the "deep, monstrous and fearsome economic and social crisis". The coalition says it will respect the diverse pro-government factions replace one sectarianism with another, but will rather seek to "reconcile and unite the nation". More in Spanish (Infolatam,


Guyana seeks international support over border dispute with Venezuela

Guyanese President David Granger has announced he will seek to reaffirm his territorial sovereignty over the Essequibo region, a disputed area with Venezuela. Additionally, he said he would seek international support in the next meeting of the Commonwealth of Nations to be held in Malta on 27-29 November this year. "We have always had the support of the Commonwealth, and we will continue working with our allies in that organization to strengthen their support and convey a message to aggressor states, Venezuela in this case, that we are not alone," Granger said. (El Universal,


Ombudsman to deploy civil servants for parliament vote

Ombudsman Tarek William Saab says he will use 600 civil servants (about 100% of his personnel) in the situation rooms of polling stations nationwide to ensure the proper development of the electoral process during the upcoming parliament vote on December 6. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Brazil takes a wait and see attitude on Macri's proposal, pending elections

After being asked on the intentions of Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri of seeking to apply the "democratic clause" against the Venezuelan regime, Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira says "one cannot judge beforehand" what will happen in Venezuela's legislative elections and trusts that UNASUR's "accompanying" mission will be able to work with full freedom. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Ecuador's Correa charges that Macri is "meddling" in Venezuelan internal affairs

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has pointed to apparent "meddling" in Venezuelan internal affairs in referring to remarks by Argentine President-elect Mauricio Macri, who said he would request the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) to levy sanctions against the government here. This is "clearly interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela," Correa said. Further, he pointed out that, in his opinion, applying a clause against Venezuela "would not be correct," because democracy prevails in that country, as well as a political project which "has won many elections." (El Universal,


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, November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 5,418 tons of chicken from Brazil for state agency Corporación de Alimentos y Servicios Agrícolas (CASA)
  • 3,049 tons of pork from Brazil for CASA
  • 2,700 tons of powdered milk from Brazil for CASA
  • 103 tractors from Brazil for state agency Fondo para el Desarrollo Agrario Socialista (FONDAS)
  • 6,252 packages of steel structures (rollers and steel pipes) from China for state agency Corporación Socialista de Cemento (CSC)
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,; Ultimas Noticias,; Bolipuertos,; Notitarde,


Cargo that has arrived at Maracaibo:

  • 30,000 tons of wheat from México for CASA
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


Imports from Argentina rose 1310.4% in 10 years, from US$ 141.8 million to around US$ 2 billion, according to the National Statistics Institute. The time period coincides with the Kirchner era in Argentina. Venezuela is now that among that nations' 5 key markets. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


310 of domestic products have been exported from La Guaira port, including wood, plastics, cocoa, coal and recycled oil, according to a press release from the Aquatic and Air Transport Ministry. The release also says 109 containers of food, medicine and basic products were brought in from Colombia and Panama, including cooking oil, corn, wheat, rice, beans, toilet paper, soap and other basic needs. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,



Oil & Energy


Venezuela sees crude in mid-US$ 20s if OPEC doesn't act

Oil prices may drop to as low as the mid-US$20s a barrel unless OPEC takes action to stabilize the market, SAYS Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino. Venezuela is urging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to adopt an “equilibrium price” that covers the cost of new investment in production capacity, Del Pino told reporters Sunday in Tehran. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are considering his country’s proposal for an equilibrium price at US$ 88 a barrel, he said. OPEC ministers plan to meet on Dec. 4 to assess the producer group’s output policy amid a global supply glut that has pushed down crude prices by 45% in the last 12 months. OPEC supplies about 40% of the world’s production and has exceeded its official output ceiling of 30 million barrels a day for 17 months as it defends its share of the market. “We cannot allow that the market continue controlling the price,” Del Pino said. “The principles of OPEC were to act on the price of the crude oil, and we need to go back to the principles of OPEC.” (Bloomberg,; Veneconomy,


Venezuela oil price crashes to lowest level since 2009

Venezuela's weekly oil basket crashed to a new low for 2015 as oil prices around the world declined on vastly oversupplied markets. 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 November 20 was US$ 34.46, down US$ 2.87 from the previous week's US$ 37.23. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Maduro calls on GECF to set “fair prices, stable markets

President Nicolas Maduro has called on the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) meeting in Tehran to work to set “fair prices and stable markets” for gas. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,;; Veneconomy,


Fifteen to 20 tankers transporting millions of barrels of crude oil and by-products ordered by PDVSA have been anchored off the coasts of Aruba, Curacao and Paraguaná due to lack of payments of the state oil company. Some of those tankers have been anchored off shore for up to 45 days waiting for pending debt payments before docking in Venezuelan oil facilities. (Veneconomy,


PETROCARIBE is currently discussing its second commercial stage in which it will deepen integration via new financing mechanisms, as well as the incorporation of natural gas within the agreement, says PDVSA Chief Eulogio del Pino. Among other projects, he announced the implementation of a Caribbean Civic Protection System for those areas vulnerable to hurricanes. (Veneconomy,





Food production is down 65%

Venezuela’s private food industry will close 2015 as one of its worst performances ever, says economist Tomás Socías, who points out that on average 40% of the sector’s plants are idle because of the lack of dollars and supplies which has brought about a drop in production of around 60-65%. (Veneconomy,


Over 12,000 hectares taken from SMURFIT lie fallow

Over 12,000 hectares taken by the regime from SMURFIT in Portuguesa state "are not producing anything", according to Luis Serpa, president of the Forest Workers Union. Nationalization has done away with more than 1,000 jobs, and farmers still await the land titles they were promised. More in Spanish: (Ultima Hora Digital;



Economy & Finance


Poverty rose to 73% this year in Venezuela due to income reduction

Sociologist Luis Pedro Egaña has presented the results of the 2015 Living Stardards poll conducted by the Catholic University's Economic and Social Studies Institute, and says "we have broken all records on income poverty, today 73% of homes here, and 76% of Venezuelans are income poor". A joint study by Venezuela's Central University and Simón Bolivar University show an important increase in homes and individuals sunk in poverty since 2014, when levels were 48.4% in homes and 52.6% in individuals, which is a 24.6% increase in homes, and 23.4% for individuals. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,



Politics and International Affairs


Opposition rejects UNASUR sponsored agreement on election results

Jesús Torrealba, campaign chief for the United Venezuela coalition, has announced that the opposition here will not sign a document proposed by the UNASUR mission for accepting elections results: "We will not sign this document because it is not a new position, it is the same as the document the government the government ordered its PSUV party and the National Elections Council to sign. As we said at that time, we will give no one a blank check, we made a serious proposal when the regime's document was proposed and were ignored. UNASUR has made a proposal that is conveniently similar to that of the United Socialist party." More in Spanish. (El Nacional,


Argentina's Macri again pledges to invoke "democratic clause" on Venezuela, Uruguay to await elections

Venezuela's opposition has hailed conservative politician Mauricio Macri's presidential win in Argentina as a blow for leftists in Latin America as a good omen for their own duel with "Chavismo" in next month's parliamentary vote. Macri, 56, narrowly defeated ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli as voters punished outgoing President Cristina Fernandez over the economy and her leadership style. Macri is urging Venezuela's suspension from South American trade bloc MERCOSUR for alleged rights abuses by President Nicolas Maduro's government: "It is clear that the bloc's (democratic) clause should be invoked because the accusations are clear and without doubt, they are not made up," Macri says. Yet Uruguay's Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said that "conditions are still possible" in Venezuela to avoid the democratic clause and says the country is "far from an alteration of democratic order" and added "let us see how the December 6th election is resolved". The MERCOSUR summit is scheduled for December 21st.  Celebrating the Argentine elections, some Venezuelan opposition leaders noted pointedly how Scioli had graciously accepted defeat. "I hope Ms Lucena can see how elections are done!" wrote Henrique Capriles, who unsuccessfully claimed fraud after losing a 2013 presidential vote to Maduro, referring to Venezuela's election board head Tibisay Lucena. Venezuela's on-the-day electronic voting system is endorsed by international experts. But critics accuse the government of skewing the vote in advance by shuffling districts, naming voting centers after Chavez, and using state resources for publicity and transport. Jorge Rodriguez, head of the government's parliamentary election campaign, lauded Fernandez as Argentina's best-ever president and noted Macri's win was a tight one. "I didn't see Scioli call for violence or for the killing of Argentines. I think the Venezuelan right-wing should learn from that example," he added. (Reuters,;; El Universal, More in Spanish: El Universal,


...and Venezuela's opposition reports shots were fired at election campaign caravan

On Sunday the Venezuelan opposition reported shot were fired at one of its candidates' campaign caravan in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. Parliamentarian Miguel Pizarro, who is seeking re-election, said he and supporters were confronted by heavily-armed men who opened fire during a walkabout in Caracas' huge Petare slum. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles published photos, allegedly from the incident, showing men dressed in red with the logo of the ruling Socialist Party apparently carrying pistols and even what looked like a machine gun. (Yahoo:




Maduro vows to "radicalize the revolution" after legislative elections

President Nicolás Maduro has called on his followers to "defend" the fatherland in the elections "battle", and said the nation will decide if it continues "on the road to the 21st century" or if "everything ends". He said the regime would win the elections and that after winning he will "radicalize the revolution". More in Spanish: (Infolatam,


Venezuela's opposition smells a victory

By almost any objective measure, President Nicolas Maduro is heading for a fall. The country’s economy is a shambles. Some 89% of Venezuelans say the country is faring badly or horribly. And with the Dec. 6 legislative elections approaching, candidates for the ruling United Socialist Party are trailing by 25 to 30 percentage points, according to a batch of opinion polls. What that means for Venezuela as a whole is less clear. The country's opposition is a 27-party pastiche. That's one reason 30% of voters say they like neither the ruling party nor the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the main opposition bloc. But while there's little love lost for Maduro, 58% of Venezuelans still have a soft spot for his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. This paradox poses some special challenges for Venezuela's aspiring democrats. First, they must win a contest in which the rules are stacked against them: In 2010, opposition candidates captured more than half the popular vote but -- thanks to gerrymandering, rules-rigging and overrepresentation of pro-government rural regions -- ended up with around 40% of the seats in the National Assembly. This time may be different, however. Despite the lopsided playing field, challengers to Venezuela’s 16-year experiment in "21st-century socialism" have never been so close to gaining real power. Political analysts say their magic number is 18% -- the margin they need in order to win two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly and have enough to change Venezuela's constitution. But even a simple majority of 84 seats would give opposition lawmakers plenty of clout to push for a recall referendum next year, which could mark the beginning of the end of Maduro's hapless regime and, possibly, of Chavismo as well. (Bloomberg,


Venezuela’s dirty election approaches

Venezuela is spiraling through a historic crash. Foreign governments watching this implosion, and many Venezuelans, have been hoping that a Dec. 6 National Assembly election could provide the beginning of a way out. The question is not whether the election will be free and fair; it already has been established that it won’t be. What’s unclear is whether Maduro will resort to outright fraud or violence to prevent an opposition victory — and whether the United States and Venezuela’s neighbors, after years of silently tolerating the destruction of its democracy, will use their leverage to prevent that. Maduro is hinting at extraordinary measures; he’s said the regime will win “however” and talked of “governing with the people” if it does not. But given the public mood — the percentage of Venezuelans who assess the country’s situation positively has dropped into the single digits — such tactics could trigger mass unrest. More pressure should be applied to Maduro in the next two weeks, including by the Obama administration. If the vote is disrupted, the United States and other governments should be ready to respond with censure and sanctions. (The Washington Post,


Maduro has met with Vladimir Putin in Tehran

President Nicolás Maduro has met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin within the 3rd Meeting of Gas Exporting Nations in Tehran. Maduro has claimed the meeting was to coordinate the defense of oil prices due to a "maneuver by the US empire to depress oil prices". More in Spanish: (AVN;


Maduro strengthens ties with Iran

Iran's supreme leader Alí Jameneí and Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro have met in Tehran to reaffirm their alliance in fighting US "arrogance" and "imperialism", saying that "resistance" is the only road "to progress". More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Venezuela, UN hold second round of meetings on the Essequibo

President Nicolás Maduro held a second round of meetings in Caracas with a taskforce appointed by the United Nations Organization (UN) to raise the question of the border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo region, official news agency AVN reported. During the meeting, Maduro repeated "the necessity of activating the ‘good officer' as means to obtain political, economic and international channels that result in an acceptable and fair solution for both nations". (El Universal,



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, November 17, 2015

November 17, 2015

Oil & Energy


Venezuela oil price tumbles to within dollar of 2015 low

Venezuela's weekly oil basket tumbled further below US$ 40 as oil prices around the world declined rapidly after the International Energy Administration revealed historically large amounts of oil in storage. 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 November 13 was US$ 37.23, down US$ 2.67 from the previous week's US$ 39.90. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,


Maduro says he will meet Putin on oil prices next November 23

President Nicolás Maduro says he will meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, next November 23rd, to continue promoting higher oil prices. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,


US$ 1.31 billion invested to date in Guri hydroelectric plant

Representatives of Venezuela's state-run National Electric Corporation (CORPOELEC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are reviewing electricity projects and civil engineering works aimed at streamlining the Simón Bolívar Hydroelectric Plant (Guri dam), located in Guri, southern Bolívar state, which would generate additional 705 megawatts (MW) for the National Grid (SEN). Heberto Montiel, of CORPOELEC, says this project has been in process since last year. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) allocated US$ 700 million, the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) provided US$ 380 million, and the Venezuelan government disbursed some US$ 230 million for the project, for a total US$ 1.31 billion. (El Universal,





Venezuela hopes to collect US$ 413.2 million from gold mining

The Venezuelan government estimates that USD 542.6 million VEF would be collected from mining and basic industries in 2016, accounting for 0.2% of recurrent income and 0.2% of the planned national budget. These resources would be US$ 90.6 million from the iron industry; US$ 31.1 million from the exploitation of other minerals; US$ 420.1 million from gold exploitation-related operations and US$ 794.8 million from mining special sales, as per the 2016 currently under legislative discussion. (El Universal,


Agriculture is now less than 5% of GDP

Economist Jesús Casique, director of Capital Market Finance, says agriculture has been shrinking within Venezuela's GDP and is now less than 5%, as a result of exchange and price controls, expropriations and lack of legal and personal security. The Central Bank used to publish the size of agriculture within the GDP, but now includes it into other areas, which makes it difficult to determine its real size. More in Spanish:  (Ultima Hora Digital;



Economy & Finance


Oil Minister says debt restructuring "seems sensible"

Eulogio del Pino, Venezuela's Oil Minister and President of state oil company PDVSA says restructuring the company's debt "seems sensible in the light of the nation's FOREX cash flow limitations". The Síntesis Financiera analysis group says there will the margin for maneuvering around the foreign payment deficit will by narrower in 2016: "Collected oil exports will be around US$ 40 billion for a second year in a row, and restrictions undertaken in 2014 and 2015 to face the drop in exports have been very strong". PDVSA must pay US$ 8.1 billion in 2016-2017 for bond maturities. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Central Bank data blackout deepens country risk perception

Since January last year, Venezuela's Central Bank has failed to make official information available on GDP, balance of payments, inflation, oil production, human development, poverty, pay scales, or scarcity - as it is legally bound to do. As a consequence, the nation's country risk is now similar to Ukraine's and worse than Greece and Argentina. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,


Venezuela accuses entrepreneurs of promoting food shortages

The government here has again said that local officials are not the only ones who violate human rights, and told the United Nations that Venezuelan entrepreneurs are promoting the so-called economic war in the country. The accusation was made by Larry Devoe, Executive Secretary of the Venezuelan Human Rights Security Council during the Fourth Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneva, Switzerland. Devoe said "(local) enterprises have deliberately hit the distribution and availability of food and personal use products, making people's access to basic goods difficult." (El Universal,


Venezuela’s International Reserves drop around $702 million a month, according to official figures from the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV). Financial firm ODH estimates Venezuelan International Reserves will close 2015 at $13.6 billion. (Veneconomy,



Politics and International Affairs


Venezuela’s regime is in a scared and ugly mood

President Nicolás Maduro admits that a parliamentary election on December 6th “could be the most difficult” test the government has faced since Hugo Chávez came to power following an election in 1998. He repeats that the “revolution” will win "como sea"—“by hook or by crook”:

  • The government has gerrymandered voting districts to give more seats to rural areas where the PSUV is strong: six urban states with 52% of the electorate will elect just 64 deputies; the remaining 18 will elect 100.
  • Maduro has declared a “state of exception” along the border with Colombia. In those areas, which will elect 19 legislators, campaigning is restricted, which hurts the opposition.
  • Seven opposition leaders are banned from being candidates.
  • The electoral authority has placed next to the opposition coalition on the electronic ballot a pro-regime splinter party with a similar name and logo. In one state, a candidate from that party has the same name as an opposition leader.
  • The government has crippled the opposition media, for example by not renewing broadcasting licenses.
  • The government has refused to allow election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) or the European Union. In an unprecedented 18-page letter to Venezuela’s electoral authority, Luis Almagro, the OAS’s secretary-general, paints a devastating picture of the tilted field on which the opposition must play. Almagro, formerly a politician of Uruguay’s left-wing Broad Front, warns that the opposition lacks “equitable” conditions and that the ruling party abuses the resources of the state.
As the opposition surges in the polls, some analysts in Caracas think that it could win the three-fifths majority in the legislative assembly required to claw back powers from Maduro. The government tacitly recognizes the possibility of defeat: it recently pressured 13 supreme court justices to retire early, so that they can be replaced before the new assembly convenes in January. Maduro talks darkly of “governing with the people” if he loses. This suggests that he would seek to throttle and bypass the assembly. But everything indicates that “the people” are no longer with him. If he blocks peaceful change, he may ensure that frustration leads to violence. (The Economist,


Former Dominican president to head UNASUR electoral mission in Venezuela

Former Dominican President Leonel Fernández will head the electoral mission of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) for the legislative elections to be held on December 6 in Venezuela. A source within the UNASUR General Secretariat said Fernández has been appointed as "special representative" of UNASUR. UNASUR's pro-tempore presidency, held by Uruguay, and Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) signed an agreement to monitor the upcoming parliament election in Venezuela. (El Universal,


Military controls key states in upcoming elections

National Bolivarian Armed Forces Operational Strategic Command, which carries out "Republic Plan" (supervising and guarding election procedures), will deploy 30,000 troops in areas where a "state of exception" has been decreed by President Nicolás Maduro. It is not known how many of these are members of the militia, according to Rocío San Miguel, director of the Control Ciudadano NGO. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,


Cabello claims Venezuelan pair held by U.S. for drugs were "kidnapped"
Two relatives of President Nicolas Maduro held in the United States on cocaine smuggling charges were "kidnapped," a senior member of the ruling Socialist Party said on Monday. In the first direct comment on the case from a high-ranking Venezuelan official, National Assembly president and party No. 2 Captain Diosdado Cabello also said it was an attempt by Washington to discredit the country's government right before a vote. "The aim was to hurt the Bolivarian revolution in the midst of an election," he said. (Reuters,


...and the opposition asks the National Assembly and Prosecutor General to investigate

Representatives of the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) are asking the National Assembly and the Prosecutor General to open an investigation to find our "whether it is or is not true that Efraín Campo Flores and Franqui Francisco Flores De Freitas, "are related to the circle of power, why did they have diplomatic passports, who owns the airplane and who owns the yatch that the DEA has reported are part of a crime ring". Jesús Torrealba, Secretary General of Democratic Unity called it a "matter of national sovereignty" and said it "is a problem that goes beyond elections and could reveal the link between crime and power circles". More in Spanish: (El Universal,


FM travels to Paris to support Venezuelans hit by attacks

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez has traveled to Paris to assist and express the local government's solidarity to the victims and relatives of the Venezuelans hit by the attacks occurred in the French capital city. Rodríguez says she was informed about the health situation of Félix Salazar, who was treated at the Pitié Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, and she provided support to the relatives of Sven Silva, who is still missing. (El Universal,



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.