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, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

International Trade
Incoming cargo at Puerto Cabello.
  • Over 3,00 tons of various paper products in 62 vans have arrived for the state owned paper company.
  • Over 1,028 tons foodstuff in 51 containers bearing fruit pulp have arrived from Chile for Industrias Maros
  • Over 385 tons of frozen beef in 12 containers, from Brazil to government agencies.
  • Over 943 tons of baby formula from Nestle Mexico to their Venezuelan affiliate.
  • Over 133 tons of frozen tuna from Cartagena.
  • Over 364 tons of aluminum scrap and accessories, from China for CORPOELEC
  • 13 Toyota vehicles directly to the government's Petroquímica agency, their cost is 14 tons.

Bolivia’s debt to Venezuela was U$D 133.4 million at the end of this year’s first quarter, down 14% from 2013, according to Bolivia’s Central Bank. Venezuela ranks second in terms of Bolivia’s creditors after China whose debt comes to U$D 468.5 million. (Veneconomy,

Colombia confirms it will restrict natural gas sales to Venezuela
Colombia's Minister for Mining, Amylkar Acosta, has confirmed that natural gas sales to Venezuela will be restricted during all the time the "El Niño" climate condition hits Colombia. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,; El Universal,

Logistics & Transport
Imported food worth U$D 1.66 million found spoiled in Venezuela
Five years ago, the Comptroller General's Office inspected La Guaira dock (Vargas state, north Venezuela) and found dozens of containers filled with food that had expired or was near its expiration date; the food had been imported by state-owned companies. Now, this irregularity was detected again, this time at Puerto Cabello dock (north-central Carabobo state.) As many as 1,714.76 tons of meat and chicken, and 1,000 tons of milk -valued at VEB 10.5 million (U$D 1.66 million)- were found spoiled at Puerto Cabello dock. The meat and chicken spoiled because the cold chain was interrupted, and the milk had reached its expiration date. (El Universal,

Food and medicine preservation at risk
Venezuela's Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Chamber has warned that their affiliates manufacturing and selling equipment, spare parts and essential ingredients, such as refrigerating gas, and those providing maintenance in the entire refrigeration chain have entered a "critical stage" due to a scarcity of components and spare parts. They say this "could impact the preservation food and medicine" as well as the operations of clinics and hospitals. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Oil & Energy
PDVSA has signed three new agreements with the private sector (Keystore, C.A., Lubricantes Cark Oil and Inversiones Servioil) to increase lubricant production in the country. PDVSA Refining, Marketing and Supply Vice President Asdrúbal Chávez emphasized the goal is to build a strategic reserve and not just to supply the country “but to also have the capacity to export.” (Veneconomy,

Venezuela to use St Eustatius terminal to load big tankers to Asia -PDVSA
Venezuela's state-run PDVSA will use a terminal owned by U.S. firm NuStar Energy on the island of Saint Eustatius to store crude and load very large crude carriers (VLCCs) going to Asia, after deciding it will no longer rent a facility in the Bahamas, a PDVSA executive said on Friday. PDVSA has been using the Saint Eustatius terminal in the Caribbean since March as a center to store and mix its crudes and produce exportable blends, the Venezuelan oil company confirmed after Reuters reported it this week. The company already started receiving crude tankers at the facility going out from Venezuelan ports. (Reuters,

Venezuela’s oil export barrel averaged U$D 97.71/bbl., slightly up from U$D 97.52/bbl. last week, driven by existing tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as an increase in US inventories, according to the Oil and Mining Ministry. The average year-to-date price is U$D 96.40/bbl. (Veneconomy,; Latin American Herald Tribune,

Cuba moves ahead with U$D 2.7 Billion LNG, ammonia Projects
Cuba continues moving forward with development of a U$D1.4 billion natural gas re-gasification project and a U$D1.2 billion urea and ammonia plant under a Venezuelan initiative to provide cheap fuel to regional allies. The re-gasification project will have the capacity to process 2.06 million metric tons per year and consist of building facilities to receive and process liquefied natural gas, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. said in a December report released last week. The aim of the project is to provide a clean and low-cost energy source to the population, the company said without giving a completion date. The urea and ammonia plant will have the capacity to process 400,000 metric tons per year of urea and 370,000 metric tons per year of ammonia. The project seeks to benefit Cuba’s industrial sector, particularly plastics, industrial agriculture and chemical products, PDVSA said. (Bloomberg,

Venezuela’s key beef sector suffers amid financial turmoil
Venezuela’s current financial turmoil is compounding problems for the meat industry, where cattlemen and traders alike say they have been severely buffeted by 15 years of socialist rule. (Global Meat News,

Chavez’s farming utopia withers as pet projects abandoned
The harvesters imported to overcome food shortages are gathering cobwebs near a burnt corn field in central Venezuela. A short distance away is the shell of a fertilizer plant and rows of empty red-roofed bungalows. This is the William Lara agricultural commune, the first of five such projects that former President Hugo Chavez said were going to reverse a 11-year rise in food imports and put products back on the nation’s shelves. One year after his death, the last 30 workers on the site are removing equipment, surrounded by 4,300 soccer fields-worth of cleared land baking in the savanna heat. “The president dies and the project dies with him,” Eumir Perez, William Lara’s former coordinator, said in an interview in Calabozo, a town in Guarico state 60 miles (97 kilometers) from the project. “The government is too busy staying in power, fighting against the capitalists’ economic war. No one dreams big anymore.” (Bloomberg,

Key items that impact inflation the most have been identified
Economic Affairs Vice President Rafael Ramírez says the items that most impact inflation are: cooking oil, milk, cheese, flour, coffee, sugar, fruit preserves, mayonnaise, margarine and actual butter. He said sardines, chicken, beef, fruit juices, rice and ham are also on his priority list. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,

Economy & Finance
Government offers funding to companies that support its "economic offensive"
President Maduro says the government will enable "several funds in both FORE and Bolivars" to help companies deal with weaknesses. He mentioned the Chinese Fund, the National Development Fund (FONDEN) and the ALBA-MERCOSUR Fund, in which he said "around VEB 100 billion" would be available. More in Spanish: (AVN;; El Regional del Zulia,; Ultimas Noticias,; El Universal,

Prices rose 4.1% in March as currency market opens
Venezuelan consumer prices in March rose the most during the four months since the government carried out the biggest devaluation since currency controls were instituted in 2003. Prices rose 4.1% last month, up from 2.4% in February and matching the 4.1% - as per an average eight of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Venezuela’s central bank released the March data in a political statement on its website and did not provide the latest annual inflation rate, which was last reported at 57.3% in February. (Bloomberg,

Lack of definition increases economic woes in Venezuela
The Venezuelan government is preparing the ground for a new "economic offensive." Five months after the strategy termed "Dakazo," and with an increasingly aching economy due to scarcity and high inflation rates, government authorities are promising "more production, full supply and fair prices." The president's announcement arrived after meetings between businesspersons and government authorities being held since February in the context of the Peace Conferences. Businesspersons hail the rapprochement, but underscore that the Venezuelan government has not yet solved major glitches within domestic production. (El Universal,

Colgate-Palmolive profit drops 16% as Venezuela's Bolivar pinches
Colgate-Palmolive Co reported a 16% drop in quarterly profit, hurt by a one-time charge related to the fall in value of the Venezuelan Bolivar. The devaluation of the Venezuelan currency has hurt many companies including Ford Motor Co, Procter & Gamble Co and Mondelez International Inc, the maker of Cadbury and Oreo, as it reduces the value of sales in the Latin American country. Colgate, which controls nearly 45% of the global toothpaste market, booked an after-tax charge of U$D 174 million due to changes in Venezuela's foreign exchange, lower than its February estimate of U$D 180-200 million. (Reuters,;

Parolin wants to come to Caracas for peace talks
Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, is determined to visit Venezuela in order to propel peace talks between the government and the opposition. All that remains to be set is the date and time. Venezuela's Minister of Foreign Affairs Elías Jaua says Parolin is ready to come to "enhance the Vatican's involvement" in the talks. The announcement was ratified by Venezuelan Ambassador to the Vatican, Germán Mundaraín, who told Zenit news agency that Parolin will certainly come on a yet unspecified date. (El Universal,

Students and labor unions will take to the streets again on May 1st, says Juan Requesens, President of the Central University's Student Federation. They will demonstrate to protest worsened conditions for workers and the violation of collective bargaining agreements by the government agencies. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Venezuela, Argentina sign military accords
The defense ministers of Argentina and Venezuela have met to sign accords on bilateral military cooperation.
The agreements also foresee the transfer of technology to enable the joint development of an ammonia nitrate plant, Argentina’s Agustin Rossi told journalists after the signing. Ammonia nitrate is used to make fertilizer and as an additive in some explosives. The two nations plan to expand collaboration in technology, science and education, Venezuela’s defense minister, says Adm. Carmen Melendez (Latin American Herald Tribune,

Obama expresses concern over Venezuela
A Venezuelan resident in Miami has received a handwritten letter from US President Barack Obama, expressing his concern over the situation facing Venezuela since the breakout of anti-government protests in February 12, a TV channel reported. (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, April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014

International Trade

Food, along with Army tanks have arrived at Puerto Cabello
  • 33.000 tons of corn for state company CASA
  • 20.000 tons of wheat from Canadá for Pasta Sindoni
  • 10.500 tons of degumming crude soybean oil for CASA
  • 10.000 tons of degumming crude soybean oil for Cargill de Venezuela
  • 900 tons of black beans, from Binograin for CASA
  • Russian state company ROSOBORONEXPORT, sent war tanks for Venezuelan Army
  • 3.000 tons of auto parts from Ica Internacional for Corporación Automotriz ZTG
  • 39.501 kg of Anhydrous sodium sulfate for Ecco Chemical Trading

Oil & Energy

PDVSA announces new oil finds
State-owned oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) says it has made new oil finds in three different areas of the country. An "effective exploratory drilling plan" begun in late 2013 has resulted in the discovery of 185 million barrels of crude and 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. Venezuela has 297.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, more than any other country in the world. Most of that crude is located in the Orinoco Belt, a territory in eastern Venezuela that holds roughly a quarter of the world's petroleum. The three latest finds, all onshore, include 100 million barrels in an area straddling the northwestern states of Zulia and Falcon, 75 million barrels in the northeastern state of Anzoátegui and 10 million barrels in an area overlapping the western states of Barinas and Apure. (Fox News Latino,

Halliburton still seeking to work in Venezuela
Halliburton's Chief Financial Officer Mark A. McCollum says the company’s receivable position in Venezuela was little changed after an improvement in payments at the end of the fourth quarter. “That was driven probably more by an expansion of our operations in Venezuela versus a lack of payment -- it still is slower than what we would like it to be,” he said. “We take a long-term view on Venezuela. We continue to be constructive about that market and think it can work for us.” (Bloomberg,


Government, farmers associations review agricultural development
The National Association of Farmers and Stockbreeders (FEDEAGRO) has held its annual assembly with ranking government officials in attendance. Agriculture and Lands minister Yvan Gil highlighted that the government is willing to give financial and technical support to all producers. (AVN,

Food basket up 71.5% in one year

Venezuela's food basket price has jumped 71.5% in one year, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).  In February, the food basket was calculated at U$D 592, up U$D 247 versus U$D 345 in February 2013.
The price variation in January-February was USD 2.49%, according to the institute. (El Universal,

Economy & Finance

Maduro offers business olive branch of funding
President Nicolas Maduro offered the private sector access to financing via state investment funds during a meeting with business leaders meant to stimulate the struggling economy and ease historic tension with industry. At a meeting called the Economic Peace Conference, Maduro said businesses will be able to seek loans from the behemoth state-run fund FONDEN, a joint Chinese-Venezuela fund, and a fund linked to trade bloc MERCOSUR. "I will put (the funds) at the service of this economic forum ... to spur a new strategy of investment," Maduro said in televised comments. "I call on you to join this battle for productivity, growth, fair prices and economic development." (Reuters,

...and flexible import controls for “food staples, first-need goods, medicines and personal hygiene products” will remain through December 31.  (Veneconomy,

Fair Prices Law may be improved
During the same meeting Maduro referred to the controversial Fair Prices Law, saying "I think that as time goes by, we may improve it." (AVN,

Government, auto industry sign agreement to set fair prices
National Superintendent of Fair Prices Andreina Tarazon says the government will sign an agreement with companies in the automotive and appliance industries to establish for fair prices. She added that these actions are part of a new methodology to clarify cost structures. (El Universal,

Economic crisis catches up with malls
Fifteen years of socialist rule and an acute economic crisis is catching up with Venezuela's shopping malls, once impenetrable oases of consumerism where rich and poor alike sought refuge from crime-ridden streets. While a decade of rigid price controls long ago forced Venezuelans to scavenge for basic goods like toilet paper and corn flour, an oil-fueled spending boom and hands-off approach to less-essential parts of the economy had always left stores catering to the well-off looking display their social status with designer brands. Things started to change with the election a year ago of President Nicolas Maduro and the onset of an economic crisis that has been the main driver of deadly protests shaking the country over the past three months. With the supply of dollars drying up as oil production wanes, imports have fallen and shortages have hit record levels. Meanwhile, galloping 57% inflation is eroding families' purchasing power. Maduro says the problems are a result of price gouging and hoarding by opposition-aligned merchants waging an "economic war" to destabilize his government. His response has sent shockwaves through the retail industry. In November, he seized a nationwide chain of appliance stores and slashed prices on fridges, plasma TVs and computers. The fire sale, which emptied the shelves, was followed by an even more devastating blow to business: a freeze on commercial rents at rates more than 50 percent lower than they had been at some malls. Incomes for shopping malls plummeted by as much as 75% as a result of the rent freeze, according to Claudia Itriago, director of the Venezuelan Chamber of Shopping Centers. Malls are now at risk of shutting down. To reduce costs, many are cutting back on frills such as holiday displays, and even essential services like cleaning and air conditioning.  At one of the capital's most chic shopping spots, dozens of stores are closed on any given day. Strict labor laws make it nearly impossible to fire workers. So to get around the juggernaut and reduce payroll costs, many stores don't bother to open every day. When they do, bored clerks fiddle with their cell phones and flip through magazines. This year, shopping centers have slashed security and maintenance personnel, something they can do because such work is outsourced. Merchants suffering the most are those selling clothes, toys and electronics — anything that's imported. (ABC News:

IMF calls for deep adjustments in Venezuela's economy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised Latin America to engage in a more prudent fiscal policy with profound adjustments in Venezuela and Argentina, in order to avoid the turmoil resulting from cuts in the US monetary stimulus and lower China's demand for the region's exports. In its report, "Regional Economic Outlook, Western Hemisphere," disclosed in Peru, the IMF commented that Argentina and Venezuela were "facing a difficult growth outlook, linked to significant macroeconomic imbalances and distortionary policies." (El Universal,


IACHR: Insecurity threatens human rights in Venezuela
In 2012, the Venezuelan government conceded that 16,072 murders were committed in Venezuela, that is, 54 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, which turns Venezuela into one of the most violent and dangerous countries around the globe. The figures concern the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), institution that says in its Annual Report 2013 that the rise in crime rates "affects Venezuelan citizens' enjoyment and exercise of their human rights". (El Universal,

Vargas Llosa: "Freedom in Venezuela has revived"
During a visit to Venezuela, Peruvian writer and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa said on Thursday that "elections in Venezuela shows that people can be wrong and move backwards." Nevertheless, he also pointed out that people can rectify. "A snowball effect started in Táchira state," he said. He stressed "radical anachronism" in Venezuela; and added: "I don't think that socialism is alive and kicking". (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, April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

International Trade

Over than 11,000 tons of food arrived at Puerto Cabello
  • 9.118 tons of whole milk powder, pasta, frozen chicken, margarine and frozen beef from Uruguay's Conaprole, Pastificcio Selmi, Bunge Alimentos, Minerva, BRF, Granja Tres Arroyos and Frigorífico de Aves Sochuy, for state company CASA
  • 2.495 tons of frozen beef and chicken, whole milk powder, rolled oats, milk and cream concentrated milk from Matadero Nuevo Carnic, Nestlé Argentina, Setrading and Centrolac, for CASA, Nestlé Venezuela and, Pdval
Other Charges
  • 3.000 tons of prefabricated building materials from Yakima Trading for PDVSA Industrial
  • 1.366 tons of aluminum ingots from Spain for Pellizani
  • 59 tons of sanitary napkins from P&G
  • 55 tons of hygiene products from P&G

Venezuela bought over U$D 176 million in pharmaceutical products from Cuba in 2013, making the Caribbean island one of the main suppliers, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). This amount does not include purchases made via the Cooperation Comprehensive Agreement between the two nations. In its 2013 annual report, the Comptroller General’s Office detected several irregularities in these purchases after going over nine contracts between the Venezuelan Health Ministry and Cuban companies. (Veneconomy,

Comptroller identifies flaws in the Emergency Supplies program
The National Comptroller's office has found "weaknesses" in purchasing, supervision and controls within the Food Supply Emergency Plan conducted by PDVSA Agriculture, BARIVEN and PDVAL during 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Puerto Cabello Main Customs office was also at fault in losses of up to VEB 160 million. The investigation began in June 2010 when abandoned containers were found with 16,000 tons of spoiled food, and the Comptroller's office says "no documentation was provided by the responsible agencies" during the process. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,

Logistics & Transport

Port services cost adjusted back to prior VEB 6.30/U$D parity
The local Port Authority has backed down on a decision to adjust services it provides to Venezuela's new parity. After numerous complaints by the business community, the government agency has decided to estimate charges for port services at the previous VEB 6.30/U$D. In February it had decided on an upwards adjustments for storage, security, moving and all other services to importers and exporters. More in Spanish: (El Universal;

Oil & Energy

PDVSA expands Caribbean storage, rents NuStar tanks
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), which urgently needs space in the Caribbean to store its oil, has emerged as the renter of tanks owned by NuStar Energy, a San Antonio, Texas-based pipeline and terminals company, on the island of Saint Eustatius, where the state-run company will blend crudes. "The company renting the tanks in Saint Eustatius is PDVSA. They will use the facility as a mixing hub to produce blends that can then be exported," one of the sources said. (Reuters,


Massive imports planned to bolster basic industries
The Ministry for Industries is planning to refloat basic industries in the Guayana region with massive imports and fiscal incentives aimed at improving productivity. Steel and aluminum production has dropped as payrolls have swelled. Steel production contracted 3% in 2012-13, while aluminum production plunged 28% due to labor strife and problems importing components and spare parts. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Economy & Finance

Venezuelan government debt now up to USD 158 billion
Even as oil prices last year were over U$D 90, the Venezuelan government sped up indebtedness, up 9% in the same one-year term. In 2012, debt by the Venezuelan government and state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) closed at U$D 144.8 billion. In 2013, it climbed to U$D 158.5 billion. (El Universal,

Central Bank withholds March inflation and scarcity data; yearly inflation now running close to 60%
23 days into April, Venezuela's Central Bank has not revealed March inflation and scarcity data which it is required to provide within the first 10 days of each month. Bank president Nelson Merentes has said the inflation rate is not positive and the Venezuelan economy is undergoing low growth. He blamed ongoing political antagonism for inflation. José Guerra, the Bank's former research director, says March inflation was 4.1% and the yearly rate is almost up to 60%. Merentes says a new "economic offensive" announced by President Maduro aims to increase productivity jointly with private and state companies since we are in a "low economic growth" stage. He says meetings are being held with the private sector and that ways will surely be found to solve current difficulties. (El Universal,; and more in Spanish: La Verdad:; Ultimas Noticias,; El Universal,

Bank of America predicts Venezuela will align exchange rates
According to Bank of America, next year Venezuela will replace its three legal foreign-exchange rates with a single valuation of VEB 45/U$D1, which would be a devaluation around 86%. “The government faces no major electoral constraint to a large devaluation of the currency,” says Francisco Rodriguez, senior Andean economist at the bank. “Most of the economic and political costs of such an adjustment were already paid". The government provides 80% of foreign currency to companies and citizens at the official rate of 6.3 per dollar, Economic Affairs Vice President Rafael Ramirez reiterated last month. The remaining 20% is sold through secondary systems, known as Sicad I and Sicad II, for VEB 10 and 49.3 per dollar. Companies and individuals who cannot access to the legal currency mechanisms pay much moe on the black market. (Bloomberg,

Rigid economic model hits Venezuela's state-owned firms
Annual reports from state-owned corporations unveil failures, and show that the straitjacket imposed by the socialist model hurts the public sector as much as it does the private sector. Lack of foreign currency, restrictions on imports, low stocks, outdated technology, and prices falling behind are the hurdles reported not only by entrepreneurs, but also state-owned corporations in 2013. (El Universal,

Coke takes U$D 247 million loss from Venezuela devaluation
Coca Cola’s first quarter 2014 earnings fell 4.2% from last year, with an 8% drop in net income and the company reporting U$D 10.58 billion in revenue. Coca Cola attributed the lower results to global factors including a devaluation of Venezuela’s bolivar currency, lower volume in Europe, and the sale of bottling operations in Brazil. Still, the figure was above the U$D 10.55 billion analysts had been guided to expect. Coca-Cola said that it would take a charge of U$D 247 million from Venezuela’s continuing currency woes. (Latin American Herald Tribune,

Brink's writes-off U$D 400 million due to Venezuela devaluation
"Since Brink's has been able to obtain U.S. dollars at the SICAD II rate (approximately 50), and is not eligible to apply for exchange at the official rate (6.3), and does not expect to be able to access the SICAD rate (11), it is adopting the SICAD II rate for reporting Venezuela results," the company said. Applying the SICAD II rate, Brink's says 2013 revenue of U$D 447 million from Venezuela would have been reduced to about U$D 56 million. (Latin American Herald Tribune,

SPECIAL PRESENTATION ON VENEZUELA's ECONOMY - ATTACHED: Attached is a special presentation on Venezuela's economy by Russ Dallen, Editor in Chief of the Latin America Herald Tribune.


Protesters fight police, burn Maduro puppets in Venezuela
Masked youths battled police, protesters burned and hung from lamp-posts effigies of President Nicolas Maduro and marchers demanded the "resurrection" of democracy on a volatile Easter Sunday in Venezuela. Though millions of Venezuelans have headed for Caribbean beaches and family gatherings over the Easter period, student demonstrators have sought to keep a nearly three-month protest movement going with religious-themed demonstrations. After a barefoot walk and a "Via Crucis" march in the style of Jesus' tortured walk towards crucifixion earlier in the week, hundreds of demonstrators began Sunday with a rally denominated "Resurrection of Democracy." (Reuters,;; More in Spanish: CNN,

Tear gas and barricades as protests start anew in Lara, Táchira and Carabobo states
Authorities attempted to disperse renewed protests in Lara, Táchira and Carabobo states using tear gas bombs. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Pope calls for end to war and to violence in Venezuela
Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Africa. He also asked for an end to violence in Iraq, Venezuela, South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic. (Reuters,; More in Spanish: CNN;; Fox News,; El Universal,

Opposition calls for freeing  political prisoners before continuing talks with the government
The seven major political parties that take part in the Democratic Unity Conference (MUD) are discussing the formation of the working groups it may jointly set up with the government before they continue holding weekly meetings with officials. All opposition groups will consider this matter, along with the proposed Amnesty Law, naming new judicial and election authorities, and taking part in "peace keeping plans". Delsa Solorzano, of Un Nuevo Tiempo says they "want to work for freeing the political prisoners, whether by amnesty, pardons, or stays". Opposition legislator Edgar Zambrano has expressed optimism about the approval of an Amnesty Law to release prisoners, allow the return of those in exile, and stop persecution against political leaders. In his 44th request to President Nicolás Maduro for a hearing to address the issue, the opposition legislator claimed that a new Amnesty Law was likely to be drafted, and said it would be different from those previously presented. (El Universal,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional;

Machado appeals to Supreme Court for her parliamentary rights. Opposition leader María Corina Machado, who was stripped of her parliamentary rights by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello for attempting to speak at the Permanent Council of the OAS as an alternate representative for Panama, has appealed to Venezuela's Supreme Court on the grounds that Cabello's decision is unconstitutional. The decision was subsequently supported by the Court itself, which ruled that her parliamentary mandate had been extinguished. Machado says the decision deprives her of due process and is not allowed within Venezuela's legal system. Her lawyers point to similar cases, such as that of pro-Government legislator Abdel-e-Zabayar, who went to fight for the Syrian regime and later returned to his parliamentary bench. More in Spanish: (Infolatam)

China supports Venezuela's "model" and dialogue for solving problems. China's Foreign Minister Chang Yi, currently in Caracas, has expressed his country's support for Venezuela's "21st century socialism" and called for "political dialogue" to resolve internal discrepancies. He said China "understands and supports" the system proposed by the late Hugo Chavez. China is one of Venezuela's key trade, energy and financial partners. It receives around half a million barrels of oil per day from Venezuela and maintains two important open funds with this nation for over U$D 35 billion for economic and social development. Chang Yi met with President Nicolás Maduro, who announced they have agreed to create new China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Fund. More in Spanish: (La Vanguardia,; Ultimas Noticias,

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.