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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013

Economics & Finance

Economic outlook remains bleak
President Nicolás Maduro says that the government's goal for the second semester is to "raise the economy up" He adds that: "The second semester has to be to recover the economy, consolidate it and prepare for growth in 2014". Not everyone is as optimistic: Economist Asdrúbal Oliveros says the outlook is not so good, and that even with additional public spending the economy will not grow or remain under 1%. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Central Bank shut down SICAD auction registry due to excess demand
Venezuela's Central Bank shut down registration for participants in the upcoming FOREX auction after their system collapsed due to an avalanche of requests. Although the bank tendered U$D 150 million for companies and U$D 30 million for individuals in their second scheduled auction, requests for FOREX by companies averaged U$D 350-400 million, and individuals requested around U$D 100 million. (El Universal, 07-29-2013;; and more in Spanish: El Nacional;; (El Mundo,

SICAD doesn't meet companies' urgent need for FOREX
Jorge Roig, President of Venezuela's Federation of Trade and Industry Chambers (FEDECÁMARAS), says the Ancillary Foreign Currency Administration System (SICAD) "is raising expectations that are impossible to fulfill" because the amount of foreign currency put up for sale is not enough to supply the market. (El Universal, 07-29-2013;;

Daily FOREX supply to private sector is U$D 125 million, yearly demand is over U$D 120 billion
Central Bank Board member Armando León contradicted private sector charges about restrictions in FOREX supplies needed to import basic goods, and said that if one adds up the different channels used there is a 6.8% increase in supply over last year. Economist Gustavo Rojas,, of POLINOMICS, explains that given high liquidity demand for US dollars at a 6.30 VEB exchange rate is more than U$D 120 billion yearly. Rojas says: "It would be necessary to raise the exchange rate gradually until it reaches the parallel market"; but, he added: "There is not sufficient cash flow to meet market demand. One must add the obligation to pay foreign debt within that demand". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;

Venezuela the only country where inflation lashes the poor the most
Information disclosed by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013 shows that broader distribution of the nation's income has not been enough to solve imbalances within Venezuela's economy. The organization compared the impact of inflationary adjustments between the poor and the rich; and Venezuela comes up as the country where rampant inflation lashes the poor the most, that is, the individuals whose largest expenses are in food, particularly in products where inflationary adjustments hit the hardest. (El Universal, 07-29-2013;

"Inflation beats to the rhythm of the parallel dollar's drum", says Guerrero
The Government claims devaluation through the Ancillary Foreign Currency Administration System (SICAD) will have minimal implications because the Foreign Exchange Administration Commission (CADIVI) is expected to cover 95% of the currency market at preferential exchange rates. But economist Alexander Guerrero, however begs to differ. "That is an accounting approach, but prices develop differently.   Expectations and the public's trust in the currency-purchase process come into play, and everyone knows that those factors fall short. The reciprocity between inflation and the parallel FOREX market is perfect. Prices are not following CADIVI's commands; inflation beats to the rhythm of the parallel dollar's drum." (El Universal, 07-27-2013;


PDVSA forming a National Oil Industrial Cluster
Rafael Ramírez, Minister for Petroleum and Mining, has announced that PDVSA has registered 851 public and private companies in order to set up a National Oil Industrial Cluster that will seek to meet the needs of production units at the Orinoco Oil Belt and achieve a production of 4 million barrels a day by 2019. Ramirez spoke at a meeting attended by representatives of more than 400 companies in the state of Bolivar and other regions of country. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,

PDVSA seeking new partnerships with the private sector
Eulogio del Pino, Vice President of Exploration and Production of Petroleos de Venezuela met in Maracaibo with the private sector related to a project which seeks to revive over a thousand wells in Lake Maracaibo. Del Pino explained that this is a pilot project aimed at increasing production, with a new recruitment scheme, supported by a trust and payment assurance. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,

International Trade

Investments by Venezuelans in Colombia rose 261% in one year
Colombia's Bank of the Republic data shows investments by Venezuelans in Colombia rose 261% in just one year, from U$D 20.2 million to U$D 72.8 million in 2012. The figures come from PROEXPORT Colombia, the official investment promotion agency, which is also showing a continued rise during 2013. Venezuelans are investing in petroleum services, construction, tourism, real estate and other sectors that offer government incentives in "strategic areas". Companies such as ALFONSO RIVAS & CÍA., FARMATODO, LOCATEL, AB MARINA GROUP, MUEBLES MADEMECO, EMPRESAS POLAR, TEC QUÍMICOS, BIENES RAÍCES POLARIS, CISNEROS GROUP, SAMBIL, are already in Colombia. (El Mundo,

Logistics & Transport

Over 137,000 tons of food remain at bay
Over 137,000 tons of soy and yellow corn remain stored in 11 grain ships at bay in Puerto Cabello, waiting their turn to offload at dock. A total 21 cargo vessels are waiting to be notified when they can discharge their stores. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño;


Maduro's first 100 days in office
President Nicolás Maduro has reached 100 days in office and is saying "This isn't easy...I never sought any position and besides, beyond that, I was always psychologically and politically prepared to be the support for him (Chavez) that to fill his position is a huge personal challenge". Maduro also called for unity in pro-government forced, and admitted he has noted divisions leading to the upcoming municipal elections on December 8th. He said these divisions were due to "chavista" leaders who - he said - have sold out to "the enemy". He did not identify those his message was intended for. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called Maduro's rule "worse" and added "this cannot hold out much more....our people have to open their eyes, when things don't work they need to be changed." In his weekly column Capriles wrote that change will begin precisely in the December elections which Maduro and "his accomplices" know they will lose. More in Spanish: (INFOLATAM)

PSUV expert asks where Bolivarian and pro-Chavez socialism has gone
Ruling party PSUV member, political expert and university professor Nicmer Evans is asking:"After five months, why does the clamor of the people focuses on a sense of nostalgia for the absence (of late President Hugo Chávez) and not for his legacy?" Evans says the relative success of President Nicolás Maduro in his 100 days in office is due to the fact that he took office without the traditional "honeymoon" new administrations enjoy. Evans launched a critique of the achievement of governance at the expense of the "construction of the Bolivarian and pro-Chávez socialism." (El Universal, 07-29-2013;

Venezuela prosecutor asks for freeze on assets of editor of critical newspaper
Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said she has asked a court to freeze the assets of the editor of one of the country’s two major opposition newspapers. El Nacional editor Miguel Henrique Otero called the move an attack on freedom of expression in statements published Sunday. Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz said the case stems from an illegal-enrichment investigation against former Caracas Mayor Alfredo Pena. The mayor had sued Otero, alleging he owes him U$D 3.5 million. Ortega said she doesn’t know where the ex-mayor got the money or what the loan was for, but she said her office will investigate possible criminal activity, according to a statement posted on her agency’s website. (The Washington Post, 07-28-2013;

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.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

Economics & Finance
BOFA projects 48.4% inflation for Venezuela this year, a 3.6% drop in GDP. Bank of America Merrill Lynch projects Venezuela's economy will drop by 3.6% this year, inflation will go up to around 48.4% and exports will go down to around U$D 89.9 billion, a 7.6% reduction from 2012. The figures would be the result of a 8.1% drop in domestic demand, down 20.4 points from 2012. Private consumption will decrease by 6%, and public spending by 8.1%, to levels not experienced since the oil strike of 2002-2003. The report also estimates imports will fall by 14.9% to around U$D 51.2 billion, in contrast to last year's increase of 24%. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;

Next auction sale of US dollars scheduled for July 29. Central Bank President Edmee Betancourt announced that they will hold another auction sale of US dollars next July 29-30 through the Ancillary Foreign Currency Administration System (SICAD). Authorities have said auctions will be held approximately every 15 days, and that CADIVI continues to be the normal way to obtain FOREX. More in Spanish: (AVN;; Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,; El Universal,

International reserves down U$D 3.24 billion in 100 days
Venezuela's economic outlook is terrible in the opinion of experts. In a forum on the first 100 years of government of President Nicolás Maduro, they remarked that existing problems are growing more and more serious. Luis Oliveros, a professor with Metropolitan University, says "only inept and incapable people can produce scarcity with oil prices at USD 100 for three years in a row". At the same time, José Guerra, a professor at Venezuela's Central University says "this is not the failure of a single man, but the failure of a model marked by state control and corruption." (El Universal, 07-24-2013;

Venezuela projected to have the lowest economic growth in Latin America
The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has cut its economic growth forecast for the region in 2013 to 3%, down from 3.5% in April. ECLAC said the reduced growth estimate "was partly due to slow growth in Brazil and Mexico. In addition, several countries that were growing quickly, such as Chile, Panama and Peru, experienced a slowdown in economic activity in recent months." Venezuela is the country with the lowest GDP growth forecast for Latin America for 2013. ECLAC estimated that Venezuelan economic growth would hit only 1% this year, below El Salvador, with 2%. (El Universal, 07-25-2013;

A "central committee" will control sales by basic industries
Ricardo Menéndez, Minister of Industries announced a central committee will be set up to control the sale of products from government owned basic industries. He says they will carry out a first sale of briquettes, with a price established by the government. The product of those sales will be transferred to the Central Bank. (Veneconomy, 07-23-2013;

FERROMINERA grinds to a halt, under military control
A group of workers from the CVG FERROMINERA state-owned iron company have blocked both the main gate and railways leading into the plant, as they reject the firm's militarization which started Wednesday evening.
Demonstrators said the company's board suspended transport service and troops blocked the gates as part of a contingency plan to restart the plant with National Guard troops.  One worker told media that they "seized the railways to prevent trains coming from Ciudad Piar from getting to FERROMINERA or steelmaker SIDOR." The company has responded by making military control more stringent and did not allowed workers on the night shift to enter the plant. Roger Salazar, of the Workers Union (SINTRAFERROMINERA) says the company tried to maintain rail operations with new personnel and even unemployed individuals, and adds: "this regime is killing the first step in the national iron and steel production system, and does not understand that there can be no company without workers." (El Universal, 07-25-2013;; and more in Spanish: El Universal,

REPSOL to invest U$D 1.58 billion in Venezuela in 2012-2016
Spanish oil giant REPSOL announced a U$D 25.13 billion investment plan of for 2012-2013, 6.3% of which is earmarked for Venezuela. According to the plan, around U$D 2.6 billion will be invested in Brazil, U$D 3.04 billion in the US, U$D 1.58 billion in Venezuela, U$D 529.21 million in Russia, and U$D 26.46 million in Spain, AFP reported. (El Universal, 07-25-2013;

Expropriated steel-company SIDETUR defaults says Fitch
Fitch Ratings has taken the following ratings actions on Sidururgica del Turbio S.A. (SIDETUR) and Sidetur Finance B.V.: Sidetur S.A.
  • Foreign currency long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) downgraded to ‘D’ from ‘C’;
  • Local currency long-term IDR downgraded to ‘D’ from ‘C’;
  • National scale rating downgraded to ‘D (ven) from ‘C (ven)’;
  • National short-term rating downgraded to ‘D (ven)’ from ‘C (ven)’.
In case of default, investors who acquired U$D 100 million in company bonds in 2006 can’t demand that the entire balance must be paid to them - this is U$D 75 million, which normally should be amortized every 3 months through 2016. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 07-23-2013;, and more in Spanish: El Universal,

Opposition charges Maduro is bringing the country down
The United Democratic Conference, Venezuela's opposition umbrella group, says Nicolás Maduro's first 100 days leading the nation have resulted only in demagoguery and destruction of the country. It charges that "false promises" about security "have not prevented over 4,200 individuals from being murdered; the drama inside Venezuelan prisons from worsening; or insecurity from being Venezuelans' main fear. Maduro has proved to have neither the political will nor the capacity to solve insecurity in Venezuela," the MUD stressed. (El Universal, 07-24-2013;

US leaves "door open" to Venezuela
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki says the US has left the door open to improve relations with Venezuela, but avoided any sort of rectification as demanded by President Nicolás Maduro, who announced the end of discussions to restore relations after recent statements by Samantha Power, who has been nominated as US ambassador to the United Nations. "We are open to having a positive relationship with Venezuela moving forward. That's what our focus is on, and we still are leaving the door open for that," the spokesperson remarked. Calixto Ortega, Venezuela's charge d'affairs in the US says contacts between both nations are currently "interrupted", but that Maduro's regime is willing to have a "friendly" bilateral relationship. (El Universal, 07-24-2013;; More in Spanish: Fox News,, 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.

July 23, 2013

Economics & Finance

Revamped dollar auctions seen as insufficient
Authorities last week reintroduced an exchange mechanism, SICAD, with a sale of U$D 215 million - complementary to the larger foreign exchange agency CADIVI. The government hasn't released information on the winning bids, but experts estimate that dollars were allocated at an exchange rate of 11 bolivars per U.S. dollar - significantly more than the official exchange rate of 6.30 bolivars to the dollar, but far from the black market price that has slid to over 30 bolivars per dollar. Alejandro Grisanti, a Barclays analyst, says the rate "demonstrated the government's strong resistance to letting the currency depreciate." Central bank officials, who managed the auction, said a price range was established and bids above or below the range were disqualified. It wasn't clear how the rate was established. Auctions are to be scheduled for every two weeks, offering roughly U$D 200 million each time. "The improvisational style makes it difficult to understand the operational aspects of SICAD," says Siobhan Morden, head of Latin America strategy at Jefferies & Co. "The lack of transparency doesn't help either as officials are not publishing the FX clearing rate or perhaps more importantly, explaining how they are sourcing the USD funds for these auctions." (The Wall Street Journal;

Public believes SICAD will not meet US dollar demand
89.4% of readers in a survey by El Universal daily say the Ancillary Foreign Currency Administration System (SICAD) will not slow demands for foreign currency.  46.75% said this is due to insufficient US dollars while 42.64% say FOREX will be sold arbitrarily. Only 10.6% feel SICAD will actually provide enough foreign currency to satisfy demand from tourism and students living abroad. (El Universal, 07-22-2013;

U$D 400 million may be available for Venezuelan companies to repay foreign debt
Official reports show that in January-May this year, the Central Bank of Venezuela authorized some U$D 400 million that "could be used to offset accrued liabilities from the public and private sectors." (El Universal, 07-22-2013;

Drop in international reserves endangers frequency of SICAD auctions
A drop in FOREX contributions by PDVSA, the state oil company, to Venezuela's Central Bank has brought international reserves down by 20%, which will make it difficult to increase the number of auctions by SICAD. According to Central Bank official data, reserves stood at U$D 23.8 billion, down from U$D 29.8 billion on December 31, 2012. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Four Chinese workers were electrocuted at the San Isidro mine in Ciudad Piar, Bolívar state on Sunday. CVG Ferrominera Orinoco issued a press release on the incident today. According to the state company, the Chinese workers were carrying out maintenance work on a Terex truck. (Veneconomy, 07-22-2013;

Warrants of arrest out on former FERROMINERA directors
Following the indictment brought by the Office of the Public Prosecutor, a local court ordered the arrest of three former members of the board of directors of CVG Ferrominera Orinoco C.A., as well as of a representative of MUSZAM Investment INC for alleged involvement in corruption during the leadership of Radwan Sabbagh as president of the state-owned oil company. (El Universal, 07-22-2013;; Veneconomy,


Venezuela angrily halts effort to normalize relations with US after criticism by US diplomat
Venezuela says it’s ending talks with the United States to restore normal relations because Washington’s U.N. ambassador-designate criticized its human rights record. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Samantha Power’s remarks compelled it to halt the process begun in Guatemala last month by its foreign minister, Elias Jaua, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Power said in Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday that Venezuela is guilty of a “crackdown on civil society,” along with Cuba, Iran and Russia. (The Washington, 07-20-2013;

Maduro and Santos agree to re-launch bilateral relations
Presidents Nicolás Maduro and Juan Manuel Santos, of Venezuela and Colombia met for 3 hours in the Amazonas state and agreed to "re-launch" bilateral relations, through "permanent communication" based on respect and cooperation. President Santos said both governments have differences on many matters, but have the obligation to work jointly and will do so. Santos said: "We told each other frankly, there are matters in which we do not agree, we have different visions on many things, but we have the tremendous obligation and responsibility to work together". More in Spanish: (INFOLATAM)

Capriles: LatAm must turn around and see what is happening in Venezuela
During his visit to Perú, Miranda state governor and opposition leader Henrique Capriles has called for solidarity by Latin American countries towards Venezuela. Capriles met with media in Lima and said:
"I do not intend to decide the agenda of the President (Ollanta) Humala, but I do expect an answer (from him), not as President of Peru, but as a brother country. We are supportive with your struggles and we just ask you to be supportive with ours," he said.
(El Universal, 07-22-2013;

Meeting of CELAC ministers starts in Caracas
The meeting of social ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States started Monday with a recorded speech of late leader of Bolivarian Revolution Hugo Chavez.  (AVN, 07-22-2013;

Supreme Court asked to order Maduro to prove his place of birth
The controversy over President Maduro's nationality does not end. Yesterday a group of lawyers formally asked the Supreme Court to order the President to reveal exactly where he was born and what was his parent's nationality, and said that if it is shown he or his parents are not native Venezuelans it should strip him of his office. More in Spanish: (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.

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013

Economics & Finance

Fitch: Venezuela's foreign exchange policy faces challenges
Venezuela's foreign exchange (FX) policy adjustments in 2013 could reduce fiscal imbalances and limit the need of continued external debt issuance. However, the room to stabilize creditworthiness could be constrained by weaker external buffers, limited upside for oil revenues and non-debt capital inflows, a rapidly decelerating economy, and political changes, according to a new Fitch Ratings report. As a pillar of economic policy over the past 11 years, Venezuela's exchange rate regime continues to weigh on the country's creditworthiness. (Reuters, 07-18-2013;

Central Bank sells U$D 215 million at currency auction
The Central Bank says it sold U$D 215.3 million at an auction of its revamped currency exchange system that closed this week, and Finance Minister Nelson Merentes separately said auctions will be held every 15 days as the country seeks to boost the flow of dollars. Merentes said he expects Venezuela's high inflation rate to ease by August, adding that economic growth for the second quarter of this year would be higher than the 0.7% rate seen in the first quarter. In a statement, the Central Bank said U$D 180.5 million was allocated to local businesses and U$D 34.8 million to individuals. The sale was restricted to companies registered in two Venezuelan states and to firms in the automotive and health sectors. Officials say other sectors and states will be addressed in future auctions. Merentes offered an optimistic view on the economy, saying that inflation "is decelerating... We are going to see better results." he added. "Given this panorama, one cannot say we are facing stagflation." He declined to give an estimate for the annual inflation figure. (Reuters, 07-17-2013;

High end bidders left out of tender by Central Bank in an attempt to brake inflation
Financial sources say that in an effort to rein in inflation, the Central Bank ignored bidders willing to pay between 16 and 26 Bolivars for the U$D 215 million at the recent FOREX tender. Those who offered the most were not assigned dollars. A study by BARCLAY's shows that if the Bank had considered those willing to pay more it would have sold each dollar at 20 Bolivars, but chose not to validate such a high rate. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 07-19-2013;

Izarra expects tourism will bring in an extra U$D 2.5 billion
Tourism Minister Andrés Izarra believes an additional U$D 2.5 billion will come to Venezuela through tourists exchanging FOREX under regulations currently in the works. He says the exchange rate for tourists will follow the auction system recently undertaken by the Central Bank. More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 07-19-2013;

Government claims unemployment hits its lowest level in June, at 6.9%
According to the National Statistics Institute, June unemployment dropped beneath 7% for a historic low of 6.9%, down from 7.4% in June 2012 and 8.6% in June 2011. More in Spanish: (AVN, 07-19-2013;;; El Universal,; Ultimas Noticias,


Ramirez says Venezuela will export gas in 2014, gas tol replace liquid fuel at electric plants
Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramírez says Venezuela will be able to export gas in 2014, particularly to nations in the region such as Argentina and Brazil. He has also said PDVSA Gas is currently producing 7 billion cubic feet of gas, adding that gas supplied to electric plants will replace liquid fuel, particularly diesel. "We have replaced 40,000 BPD of diesel out of 160,000 BPD the electric sector currently consumes". Ramirez recalled that Venezuela's proven natural gas reserves are estimated at 196 billion cubic feet, with a potential above 300 billion cubic feet, which can certify the nation as the world's fifth largest gas reserve. More in Spanish: (AVN, 07-19-2013;; PDVSA,; Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,

Chacon claims electricity outages down 47%
Electric Energy Minister Jesse Chacon says electricity outages have been reduced by 47% nationwide and the goal is to bring them down to half by the second week in August. He said this progress was made possible by carrying out 90% of maintenance in relay stations, rehabilitating six underground cables in the capital region, among other initiatives; and added that consumption has been lowered by 430 MW out of a total goal of 1000 MW. More in Spanish: (AVN, 07-19-2013;; El Mundo,

Government criticized for funding electrification in other nations
Caracas city councilman Alejandro Vivas has blasted official plans to implement new electricity rates as Venezuela "has given away large amounts of money" to other countries in the region. He points out that since 2006, "the electric power crisis in the country has become worse," while U$D 200.3 million has been delivered to neighboring nations to finance "electrification plans and programs." Vivas said Cuba has been given U$D 20 million; Nicaragua, U$D 90 million for electrification of Managua and other cities; Uruguay, U$D 10.3 million; and Bolivia, U4$D 80 million. (El Universal, 07-17-2013;

Land Law is termed a "failure", has driven farmers out
Carlos Albornoz, Vice President of the FEDEAGRO Agrarian Federation says the Land Law has "failed" and merely "drove farmers out of the fields". Venezuela is currently meeting consumer demand through imports, such as 83% yellow corn and 40% whote corn, 50% beef, 70% dairy products, and 50% coffee. More in Spanish: (Ultima Hora Digital, 07-19-2013;

International Trade

Arreaza proposes Venezuela as China's entry point into MERCOSUR
Vice President Jorge Arreaza has begun an official four day visit to China by offering Venezuela as the Asian nation's "port of entry" into the MERCOSUR common market. Arreaza said: "We have the most important natural resources in the region despite being a country that is not so large, the largest oil reserves in the world, and one of the most important gas reserves". He has met which China's Vice President Li Yuanchao and with Hu Haibang, President of the China Development Bank. (El Universal, 07-19-2013;

Iran, Venezuela vow to boost economic cooperation
Meeting with Venezuelan Ambassador to Iran Amenhotep Zambrano, the head of the Iran-Venezuela Parliamentary Friendship Group, Abdolreza Mesri denounced the sanctions imposed by Western powers against Iran and Venezuela as "fruitless." "Mutual economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries can meet the interests of the two nations and improve their international position," he was quoted as saying. He also expressed the full preparedness of Iran's Majlis (parliament) and the members of the Iran-Venezuela Parliamentary Friendship Group to promote ties with the Venezuelan parliament. Zambrano, for his part, expressed Caracas' willingness to cement ties with Tehran in economic, industrial and commercial fields and hailed the two countries' scientific achievements. (XINHUA, 07-18-2013;


Santos-Maduro meeting seeks resuming dialog
As the Presidents of Colombia and Venezuela prepare to meet next Monday on the border town of Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela's Amazonas state, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says: "There were some differences there which I believe came from some misunderstandings which can be easily explained". Santos says the two Presidents will "undertake a full a review of bilateral relations". Colombia´s Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín says the two leaders will discuss pending matters, including trade, border issues, security, energy, and fuel. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 07-18-2013;; and more in Spanish: INFOLATAM)

Capriles to meet with Chile's Piñera to seek support for compliance with UNASUR resolution
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski is scheduled to meet privately tomorrow with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera during his current visit to Chile and Peru seeking support for the enforcement of an UNASUR resolution which calls for a full vote recount in Venezuela's April 14th Presidential elections. Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, a leading candidate in her country's upcoming presidential elections said she will not meet with Capriles due to scheduling problems, but suggested he meet with one of her foreign policy advisors. Capriles said he came to remind all that the "commitment undertaken by Venezuela with UNASUR has not been honored". More in Spanish: (El Universal, 07-19-2013; and INFOLATAM)

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.