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, May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013

Economics & Finance

Minister says FOREX allocations delays down 70-75%, business says only 12% of pending requests served
Finance Minister Nelson Merentes says information is being shared by the Foreign Exchange Board (CADIVI) and the nation's tax authority (SENIAT) to avoid foreign exchange going to "fake companies". He says delays in FOREX allocations have been reduced by 70-75%, and deliveries will be speeded up to areas such as food, health, the automotive industry and airlines. In turn, FEDECÁMARAS President Jorge Botti, speaking for the business community says there is a backlog of around U$D 8 billion and some 10-12% has been served. He added that "it will take 90-120 days to restore supplies". More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 05-31-2013;; El Universal,

"We do have sufficient reserves" says Central Bank President
Edmée Betancourt, President of the Central Bank says the nation has sufficient international reserves to meet economic needs. "We do have foreign exchange. We must rationalize our foreign exchange; we will not allow them to continue to be wasted". More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,

Merentes to meet investment bankers
Finance Minister Nelson Merentes will travel in June to Europe and the United States for a round of meetings with investment centers and international organizations, in order to "explain first hand and clarify investor doubts" on Venezuela's economy and its potential. He says: "we have made changes here and some people do not understand, the best way is to tell it in person. We have no problem going to these centers, we will go where we must, we will take part in international organizations no matter what their position. We have a model which is being developed and in any case we will go to the markets." More in Spanish: (El Universal, 05-31-2013;

Local industry running at half capacity
The Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (CONINDUSTRIA) reports that the nation's domestic industries are working at 52.82% of their installed capacity, according to a poll conducted by the institution. This is down from 59.5% in the last quarter of 2012 and the lowest first quarter since 2010. Data from the Central Bank (BCV) indicates the slowdown is due to cuts in the sale of foreign currency to the private sector, lack of raw material, customs-related bottlenecks, and delays in the granting of permits. Official statistics indicate food production rose by 2.62% in January. Similar rises in production in January were reported in paper (13%), tires (38%), and common metals (5.7%). (El Universal, 05-30-2013; and

Venezuelans blame Government for widespread shortages
The Government is accountable for shortage in the country, said 93.52% of respondents in a poll conducted by the daily newspaper El Universal. Based on the results of the poll conducted among 2,270 people, some 4.1% blamed shortage on industries, and 2.11% blamed it on shopkeepers. Another 0.26% of respondents attributed shortage to transport companies. According to the latest data disclosed by the Central Bank shortage hit 21.3% in April, the highest level in recent months. In other words, two out of 10 products were not in stock in grocery stores and supermarkets. (El Universal, 05-30-2013;

Stock market up 71%
The local stock market continued its torrid pace as it increased by 5.6% during the week ending May 24, closing at 806,050. Banco Provincial continued rising, up 8.3% this week to close at Bs. 260. At this level, its dividend has dropped to nearly 8%, down from near 30% two years ago. But somehow investors with Bolivars trapped by currency controls continue chasing dividends in all stocks. The biggest gainer for the week was container-maker Envases Venezolanos, up 14.2% at Bs. 120, followed by Mercantil Servicios Financieros, up 2% at Bs. 230 and nationalized telephone company CANTV, up 2% at Bs. 23. Steelmaker SIVENSA lost 33.3% at Bs. 10.02, while paper and property company MANPA dropped 8.7% at Bs. 6.3. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 05-30-2013;

RPT-Fitch: ROSNEFT'S Venezuela deal important for long-term outlook
ROSNEFT's new joint venture in Venezuela is a step towards strengthening its international upstream operations, which could help improve the company's operating profile in the long-term, Fitch Ratings says. International growth will be important if the group is to offset falling production at its principal brownfield sites in Western Siberia and Central Russia. Joint ventures abroad could also provide Rosneft with valuable technical expertise. ROSNEFT reported a 1.6% quarter-on-quarter fall in oil production in Q113 to 2.35m barrels per day (bpd), excluding equity affiliates and TNK-BP. Virtually all of this production came from Russia, with 56% from one subsidiary in Western Siberia, where output dropped 1.7% on the previous quarter. We therefore consider ROSNEFT's involvement in the oil-rich Orinoco Belt projects, with 195bn tons of estimated oil resources, as an important long-term driver for its upstream operations and expansion abroad. (Reuters, 05-29-2013;

Venezuela to sign loan agreement with China's oil company CNPC
Rafael Ramírez, president of state-owned oil company PDVSA, is to travel to Beijing next week to initial a loan agreement amounting to U$D 4,000 with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a source from the company said on Wednesday, following talks held in mid-May during a visit to Venezuela by Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao. PDVSA said the credit will help boost production of heavy and extra-heavy crude oil from 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 330,000 bpd at China-Venezuela joint venture Petrolera SINOVENSA, operating in the Carabobo 2 block at the Orinoco Oil Belt. (El Universal, 05-30-2013;

Bolivian oil company weights proposal to explore in Venezuela
Bolivian state-owned oil company YPFB reported that it is pondering the proposal made by Argentina and Venezuela to effect its first international projects of prospection and production of hydrocarbons. Thus far, YPFB has operated only in Bolivian territory. Now, however, it could start operations in foreign countries thanks to the political agreements reached by President Evo Morales and his counterparts Cristina Kirchner, of Argentina and Nicolás Maduro, of Venezuela. In this way, Argentinean YPF and Venezuelan PDVSA will return the access given by YPFB to the Bolivian market, where they run oil and gas exploration and production projects. (El Universal, 05-29-2013;

ICSID ruled in favor of PDVSA in lawsuit by OPIC oil company
The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, ruled in favor of state oil company PDVSA in a case brought by the OPIC KARIMUN Corporation, after the company failed to reach an agreement with the Venezuelan government regarding the request for compensation for the involvement of the conventions to which they had been working. "The plaintiffs are stuck with Article 22 of the Law on the Promotion and Protection of Investments, of October 3, 1999, which provides that disputes arising between an international investor whose home country holds a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the Venezuelan state, may be subjected to international arbitration. In this case there was none that protected them, which is why the judges gave the decision in favor of Venezuela," PDVSA said in a press release. (AVN, 05-29-2013;; Latin American Herald Tribune, 05-28-2013;; Reuters;

Venezuela says U.S. shale won’t hurt OPEC’s heavy oil
The rising supply of U.S. shale oil doesn’t affect exporters of medium and heavy crudes such as Venezuela, Oil Minister told reporters before an OPEC meeting tomorrow. “Shale is a production of light crude and that doesn’t affect us as being big producers of medium and heavy crudes,” Rafael Ramirez said in Vienna, where ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are gathering. “We have a big capacity to place our crudes, including the U.S. market.” (Bloomberg, 05-30-2013;

Fuel market has enough inventories to cover domestic demand, said PDVSA Refining Director and Paraguaná Refining Complex (CRP, in Spanish) General Manager Jesús Luongo. He also informed the gas reformer at the Puerto La Cruz Refinery was subjected to a cleaning process without presenting any irregularities; consequently “the process of starting it was begun on Sunday when one of the engines failed.” (Veneconomy, 05-29-2013;; El Universal;

International Trade
Food imports in Colombia could be suspended
Nutrition Minister Felix Osorio says the government is considering suspending food imports from Colombia after that nation's President Juan Manuel Santos met with Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles. He said negotiations had begun to bring in certain staples, but added "after yesterday's situation we can hardly establish any commercial relationship with Colombia beyond what already exists." More in Spanish: (Notitarde,

Logistics & Transport
Talks held on speeding up port processing
Major General Herbert García Plaza, President of the Port Authority and head of aquatic and air transport has met with representatives of the various government institutions to speed up dispatching cargo that arrives in Puerto Cabello. More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos, 05-31-2013;

Venezuela furious at Colombia's meeting with opposition leader
Venezuela reacted with fury to Wednesday's talks between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles. President Nicolás Maduro said Santos had "stabbed Venezuela", and pointed out that the late President Hugo Chavez had unconditionally supported the peace process in Colombia. He added that "as we work toward peace in Venezuela, we cannot accept a conspiracy from Bogota", and doubted the sincerity of President Santos "as he stabs Venezuela in the back and contributes to wash the face of the conspiracy against Venezuela. I say so with pain". Capriles met Santos in Bogota at the start of a tour around Latin America to press his case that last month's presidential poll in Venezuela was fraudulent and President Nicolas Maduro's government is therefore illegitimate. (Reuters, 05-29-2013;; The Washington Post,; Fox News,; Bloomberg, and more in Spanish: El Universal,

Capriles condemns blackmailing Colombian peace talks, calls for support of UNASUR agreement
Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles has said the Venezuelan government's reaction on his visit to Colombia is "unacceptable". "Peace can never be subjected to blackmail. Either you want peace and work for peace or you do not want peace. There is no in between", he said. His statements came after Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua said Venezuela would "re-evaluate" Venezuela's role in Colombia's peace process saying "it is very difficult to work toward peace in a neighboring country, when that country's highest authorities support and feed destabilization in Venezuela." Jaua spoke after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with Capriles in Bogotá. Capriles says ti is "unacceptable to try to condition Colombia and tell them who to meet with and who it cannot meet with". Capriles also met with the heads of Colombia's Senate and House of Representatives. At a subsequent press conference he said he had asked Santos to help make Venezuela comply with the UNASUR resolution calling for a full audit of the April 14th Presidential election. More in Spanish: (Infolatam)

Colombian Vice President says Colombia recognizes Venezuela's elected government
Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón says his nation wants to strengthen bilateral relations with Venezuela and stressed that "we recognize Venezuela's legitimate elected government headed by President Nicolás Maduro, and the proof is that President Juan Manuel Santos and Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín attended his swearing in ceremony in Caracas."  Garzón also said Santos "is free to meet with whomever he considers", and said the Colombian government would reject any plot or conspiracy against a democratically elected government in Latin America or the Caribbean".  More in Spanish: (AVN;

Elections Council calls municipal elections for December 8th
The Elections Council has announced that municipal elections will be held on December 8th, so that voters can elect mayors and other municipal authorities. Voter registration will be held up to 21 June, and nominations should take place between August 5-9. 40,000 people are expected to run for 2791 offices, including 335 mayors. More in Spanish: (AVN;; 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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 28, 2013

Economics & Finance

Inflation downturn is expected
Finance Minister Nelson Merentes says inflation is expected to slow down in the coming quarters of this year:"We will deliver more products, more goods for consumers and surely, the Central Bank will have be a currency policy coordinated between the private sector and the Government so as to reduce this year's impact," Merentes said. In fact, he said: "I think we will finish better than the way we started the first quarter. I think there must be a downturn by the second quarter." (AVN, 05-27-2013;

Bolivar devaluation continues to pressure U.S. companies
Venezuela’s currency devaluation dented first-quarter earnings per share (EPS) and net profits for U.S. companies with operations or doing business within this market and Fitch Ratings believes pressure on the bolivar fuerte (Bs.F.) and potential incremental charges could continue. In first-quarter 2013, Ford recorded a U$D 186 million re-measurement loss in Venezuela; the re-measurement impact at General Motors (GM) was U$D 162 million while the re-measurement impact at Goodyear was U$D 115 million. GM also noted that another devaluation of the Bs.F. to the dollar would result in a U$D 50 million charge based upon the company’s Bs.F.-denominated assets and liabilities as of March 31, 2013. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Pdvsa lost U$D 7.79 billion in refining and supply in 2012
Oil refining brought negative financial results to state-run oil firm PDVSA in 2012. The oil company's management report shows that refining, trade and supply, both locally and abroad, suffered a total operating loss of U$D 7.79 billion. This implies an astronomical spike of 851% in losses compared to U$D 819 million in 2011. Segmented data reveals that losses in refining, trade and supply in Venezuela alone were U$D 8.44 billion, which explains billion dollar losses in PDVSA's global refining activities. (El Universal,

CHEVRON extends PDVSA a U$D 2 billion credit to raise production to 127,000 BPD in Zulia

Schlumberger extends PDVSA U$D1 billion credit line
PDVSA will receive a revolving credit line of at least U$D 1 billion from oil services giant Schlumberger, the oil minister said on Friday. The deal will provide some financial breathing room for PDVSA, which as of last year had built up U$D 16.5 billion in debts to service providers as it focused on social spending at the expense of paying off industry-related debts. "What we are signing today is an agreement for a revolving credit facility...that will allow us to receive more services from Schlumberger," said Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez after signing the agreement with Schlumberger Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard. (Reuters, 05-24-2013;

Consecrating wine running scarce at Catholic churches, according to Archbishop Roberto Luckert, President of Venezuela's Episcopal Conference, who reports that wine used in communion ceremonies is running out and their key supplier has reported that they may not make further deliveries due to lack of ingredients. Archbishop Luckert reports the Church has no alternate suppliers and cannot import wine used for religious purposes because there is no FOREX available. President Maduro has acknowledged an "acute scarcity" and promises additional massive imports and more expeditious FOREX allocation. More in Spanish: (INFOLATAM)

Caribbean should trade Venezuelan oil for homegrown sun

Still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Sandy and the 2008 financial crisis, many Caribbean countries now face another threat: the possible curtailment of PETROCARIBE, a Venezuelan program that has kept their economies afloat with deals on discounted oil. Consider the case of Jamaica, which this month had to go to the International Monetary Fund for a U$D 932 million loan after rescheduling U$D 9 billion worth of domestic debt. With exports of bauxite and sugar down, fewer tourist arrivals and Sandy’s lingering costs, its economy has been shrinking. Unemployment hovers at 14%. Last year, public-sector debt was up to 140% of gross domestic product. (Bloomberg, 05-26-2013;

International Trade

Reserves available for imports estimated to cover only 21 days supplies
The SÍNTESIS FINANCIERA report says liquid reserves at the close of April stood at U$D 2.6 billion, which is the amount needed for 21 days worth of imports. The report adds that "the state of liquid reserves is critical in speeding up CADIVI FOREX allocations, as promised by the Government". More in  Spanish: (EL Universal; )

29.1% less FOREX will be allocated for imports in 2013
Central Bank President Edmée Betancourt says between 3-3.5 billion U$D per month for imports are enough to sustain a stable 3% growth rate. This implies dollar supplies will decrease 29.1% from last year, when $ 59.3 billion were supplied. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; )

Colombia offers to support Venezuela in meeting shortages
President Maduro expects trade between Venezuela and Colombia will increase over the next few months. He says a group of Venezuelan ministers are in now in Bogotá to seek agreements in this area. More in Spanish: (El Universal;; Últimas Noticias;

Logistics & Transport

VEB 330 million were invested in Guanta Port modernization
Major General Hebert Josué García Plaza says some VEB 300 million were invested in modernizing Guanta Port in Anzoátegui State. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño;

Lack of shipping controls increases tax evasion
Hugo Mijares, President of the National Association of Customs Agents says that in recent years there has been no shipside checking, with cargo manifests must be relayed to tax authorities before a ship docks. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


President Maduro says Venezuela to create new workers militia to defend homeland
Maduro has ordered the creation of a new workers’ militia to defend the country’s “Bolivarian revolution” at a time when the government faces economic problems and political turmoil. President Nicolas Maduro gave few details about the militia, including how many members it would consist of, but said it would be part of the Bolivarian Militia created by late President Hugo Chavez, which consists of roughly 120,000 volunteers. Analysts have said only about one-fourth of that force is combat ready. (The Washington Post, 05-24-2013;

Supreme Court rejects recusations in Presidential election challenge
The Elections Chamber of the Supreme Court here has rejected two recusations presented by former candidate Henrique Capriles and the Democratic Unity Conference, against two magistrates who must decide the case. More in Spanish: (El Universal;

IAPA concerned about freedom of expression in Venezuela
The Inter American Press Association has been reviewing conditions on freedom of expression in Venezuela due to recent events at GLOBOVISION, the suspension on of ATEL's licenses, and meetings by President Nicolás Maduro with the heads of VENEVISION, TELEVEN and GLOBOVISION. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;

Capriles charges new GLOBOVISION owners with vetoing his speeches, calling them "plugged in", a term he uses to identify those who benefit from Government largesse. He also says the Maduro regime wants to control "all media". The new Board of GLOBOVISION met recently with President Maduro and pledged the station will henceforth be "very sensible" in conveying information. According to Capriles, their agreement includes vetoing his live broadcasts. More in Spanish: (INFOLATAM)

López: Attorney General should target mafias feeding on the country's blood
In response to a subpoena served by the Attorney General Office on Friday, former Chacao mayor Leopoldo López lamented the decision of Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz to press charges against him over his past administration. "Attorney General, I can see the check behind this new accusation. You should take care of the mafias and cartels that are bleeding the nation dry," López twitted. (El Universal, 05-24-2013;

2 US Embassy Officials Injured in Venezuela
A Venezuelan police official says a military attaché at the U.S. Embassy has been injured in a shooting outside a night club. The State Department said two U.S. officials were injured in an "incident" early Tuesday but gave few details. The police official said that Roberto Ezequiel Rosas was shot in the right leg during an argument outside a night club in the Chacao district of Caracas. She said he was taken to a local hospital. His condition was not immediately clear. The official spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to release the information publicly. In Washington, State Department spokesman William Ostick confirmed that "two members of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas were injured during an incident early this morning." "Medical staff inform us that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening," Ostick said. Crime is a serious problem for Venezuela, which has one of the world's highest murder rates. (The Miami Herald,

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.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24, 2013

Economics & Finance

Central Bank liquid reserves down to U$D 2.2 billion
At the close of April the Central Bank's balance sheet shows liquid international reserves are down to U$D 2.2 billion. These are reserves available for servicing foreign debt and imports made under the FOREX Committee (CADIVI). At the start of this year liquid reserves stood at U$D 3 billion. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 05-24-2013;

Production shutting down
Some industries that produce plastic containers, wood, paper, cardboard and aluminum have had to shut down production lines due to lack of inputs to FOREX scarcity, according to José Manuel González, President of the Packaging Industry Chamber. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 05-24-2013;;

Maduro stresses support for companies that seek to increase production
President Nicolás Maduro has stressed that the government will support businessmen interested in increasing production of goods and services in the country: "We can perfectly well develop a policy to walk together in developing the productive force of the nation. Without developed productive forces there is no socialism or anything else". More in Spanish: (AVN, 05-24-2013;;

The government will invest over U$D 2.4 billion in Guayana industries, says Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) President General Carlos Osorio: "Here we are investing over U$D 2.4 billion in order to strengthen the entire CVG system, and we will soon have results." More in Spanish: (AVN, 05-24-2013;;; El Universal,

Domestic debt soars 97.5% in three years
Although the Venezuelan oil basket price has stayed above the U$D 100 ceiling, the nation's debt has continued growing. According to data from the Finance Ministry, the government has relied on bonds issued within the local market, thus increasing its obligations by 97.5% in the past three years. By the end of March 2010, domestic debt was U$D 24.6 billion and in March 2013 it stands at U$D 48.6 billion. This total includes bonds issued by the Ministry of Finance, as well as operations by parallel funds. Total direct official domestic debt was U$ 5.2, which did not exist three years ago. (El Universal, 05-23-2013;

Central bank: Economy requires U$D 3 billion per month
The government seems willing to bring order into the foreign exchange administration system after admitting publicly that "ghost firms" have been sold US dollars in recent years at a preferential exchange rate.
Central Bank President Edmée Betancourt has confirmed that the bank has resources available the private sector, but they have to streamline the procedures and stop selling US dollars to the wrong actors.
In a meeting with health sector entrepreneurs, Betancourt estimated that the productive apparatus needs U$D 3-3.5 billion monthly, which is U$D 36-42 billion annually for imports, not the U$D 59 billion reported by the Bank in 2012.
(El Universal, 05-23-2013;

Business sees dire economy in 2013
Venezuela is slipping into high inflation and economic stagnation this year due to a shortage of hard currency and a decade-long weakening of domestic industry, the head of the country's main business group Fedecamaras said. It's President, Jorge Botti, says Venezuela could see no growth and even shrink as much as 3% with inflation of more than 30% even though the price of oil - Venezuela's main export - is seen steady near $100 per barrel. He said this year's expected "stagflationary" scenario is the result of an economic model built on oil-financed government spending, the backbone of the self-styled socialist revolution. (Reuters, 05-23-2013;

Entrepreneurs, gov't seek to streamline US dollar sale procedures
Commerce Minister Alejandro Fleming met with health sector representatives to try to streamline procedures for acquiring US dollars. Fleming said that a comprehensive assessment must be undertaken jointly to determine which steps are necessary and which are not in order to simplify procedures. He added that US dollar sales are under way pending within the Foreign Exchange Administration Commission (CADIVI). (El Universal, 05-22-2013;

Supplementary appropriation for hygiene products

The National Assembly has passed a supplementary appropriation for the Ministry of Trade in order to acquire "hygiene products" (toilet paper) (Veneconomy, 05-22-2013;; Reuters,


Putin confirms Russia's strategic alliance with Venezuela
In a letter to President Maduro, Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed his nation's strategic alliance with Venezuela. In recent days this alliance has taken shape in the energy sector. His letter came at the same time ROSNEFT President Igor Sechin visited Venezuela. Joint projects mentioned:

  • ROSNEFT will grant CVP (Venezuelan Petroleum Corporation) credit up to U$D 1.5 billion in order to develop such joint ventures as PETROPERIJÁ, PETROMONAGAS, PETROZAMORA, PETROMIRANDA y PETROVICTORIA, with ROSNEFT taking the lead in the two latter ones. Oil Minister and PDVSA President Rafael Ramírez announced a joint venture which will rise to U$D 1.832 billion this year, and the total by 2019 will be U$D 28.489 billion.

  • PETROVICTORIA to pump 120,000 BPD in 2016. PETROVICTORIA, a joint venture between state oil company PDVSA and Russia's ROSNEFT, will start production in 2016 and reach 120,000 barrels per day, PDVSA said on Thursday. The joint venture will produce ultra-heavy crude from the vast Orinoco Belt, a large deposit of oil in the Orinoco River basin of southeastern Venezuela. Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez and Rosneft President Igor Sechin signed documents for the official creation of Petrovictoria, which must be approved by Congress.

  • ROSNEFT and PDVSA to jointly develop the Róbalo gas field on the Gulf of Venezuela. The agreement signed calls for ROSNEFT to evaluate available geologic and geophysic information on the field, which is part of the Rafael Urdaneta Gas Project.

  • PETROMONAGAS will increase crude oil production to 160,000 BPD. The Russo-Venezuelan joint venture will develop plans to expand production, says Minister Rafael Ramírez. He made his statement during a visit to the Jose Industrial Complex near Barcelona, in the Eastern state of Anzoátegui, which he toured along with ROSNEFT President Igor Sechin. Ramírez also said Sechin came with a delegation of industrialists who produce drills, as well as Russian service companies.sp?ids=44&idt=34838&idc=2; Reuters,

Logistics & Transport

Aircraft fleet has shrunk 52.3%
In 2009 Venezuela had a fleet of 130 commercial aircraft, but Julio Arnaldes, President of the Tourism Council says it is now down to 68. He said that the rest of the planes are inoperative and not likely to return to the air. "Therefore, we see the country constantly crowded airports. Not necessarily because of increased ticket demand, but there are very few aircraft to serve the number of passengers," he said, added that sometimes the number of aircraft flying reaches 50 routine screening those who have to submit the equipment or by the lack of spare parts. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 05-24-2013;;


SÚMATE demands speedy decision in election challenge
SUMATE has urged the Elections Chamber of the Supreme Court to render a speedy answer to the challenges brought by the opposition, which seeks to nullify the April 14th Presidential elections. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 05-24-2013;

Municipal elections likely to be held on November 24
Venezuela is likely to hold municipal elections next November 24. Although the directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE) have not agreed on a firm date yet, CNE executives have been instructed to reschedule the elections using different scenarios, including November 24. This is the fourth time in the past 12 months that the CNE sets a date to elect 335 mayors, 2,835 counselors, 69 municipal representatives for the indigenous people, two mayors for the metropolitan areas, and 20 township counselors. (El Universal, 05-22-2013;

President and Navy review test missile restored by Venezuelan technology
President Nicolas Maduro and members of the military high command attended the test of one of 18 Otomat Mk2 missiles acquired in the 70s and restored by Venezuelan technicians, with Cuban support. Maduro said that this project is part of the recovery of the FANB defense capability. Local media report Maduro took the opportunity to meet with National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, Defense Minister Diego Molero and former Vice President José Vicente Rangel, to review the scandal surrounding tape recordings of former TV anchorman Mario Silva speaking to a Cuban G2 agent, in which he reports conflicts among all four of these men. (AVN, 05-23-2013;; El Universal,

Maduro to attend inauguration of his Ecuadorian counterpart
President Nicolás Maduro will attend the swearing-in ceremony of reelected Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. It is not known when Mr. Maduro will travel to Ecuador. (El Universal, 05-23-2013;

Murder rate in Venezuela increased 13% in 2013, according to Venezuelan Violence Observatory NGO Chief Roberto Briceño León. He explained public policies are evaluated for their results and not for their intentions, and “if after 20 safety plans, what we get is an evolution from 4,500 murders in 1998 to 21,000 in 20012, the plans have been a failure.” (Veneconomy, 05-22-2013;

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.