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, November 28, 2014

november 28, 2014

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 30,000 tons of sugar from Brazil, for Central Azucarero Portuguesa.
  • 30,000 tons of sugar from Brazil, for Banco Universal.
  • 6,000 tons of rice from Guyana, for CASA.
  • Over 3,000 tons of auto parts from Ica Intl Automóviles for Corporación Automotriz ZGT.
  • Over 951 tons of food in 39 containers, from Brazil fro state agency CASA.
  • Over 552 tons of soy oil, from Bunge Alimentos, for  CASA
  • Over 399 tons of frozen beef, from Sertrading S.A. for CASA

  • Over 275 tons of Chinese fireworks for the Christmas season, for Pirotecnia Premium C.A. and Royal Light And Fire.
  • 74 tons of toys in 12 containers, from China, for Festimoda C.A., Vibración, among others.
  • Smaller quantities of clothing, shoes and tires have also arrived.


Shippers say Puerto Cabello slowest port in the Caribbean; government owes them US$ 137.8 million

Eddy Meayke, President of Venezuela's Shipping Association, says the problem at the Puerto Cabello terminal is that the handling of containers is extremely slow, and causes delays and losses to shipping lines.  In some cases shippers have been forced to leave cargo at transit points such as Panama and Cartagena. He says there has been no meeting with the management of the port authority, BOLIPUERTOS, in order to help shippers and authorities to plan jointly, and points out that conditions are better at La Guaira. Meayke says other Caribbean ports offload at a rate of 35-40 movements per hour, and in "Puerto Cabello it is at best 8 movements per hour".  He also reports the government owes the main foreign shipping companies that service Venezuela around US$ 137.8 million due to delays in returning standard and refrigerated containers, and says a situation similar to the crisis with airlines could emerge here. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,



Logistics & Transport


Venezuela suspends private flights in security operation

Venezuelan authorities has halted flights by private jets leaving from seven airports in a campaign to crack down on drug trafficking and review flight permits. The operation did not affect commercial flights at the country's main airport outside Caracas. Standing on an airstrip around dawn, Vice President Jorge Arreaza told state TV the efforts were meant to "eradicate the illicit trafficking of drugs as well as the illegal use of commercial or private planes." (Reuters,



Oil & Energy


Venezuela is getting ready to face “hard timesafter the collapse of oil prices, says PDVSA’s Chief Eulogio del Pino. He claims the government is preparing “for the worst scenarios” and warned “complicated times” are ahead. (Veneconomy,


Venezuela to keep seeking 'fair' oil price despite OPEC reverse, says countries can act individually

Venezuela will maintain contact with non-OPEC countries to seek a "fair" global oil price, says Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez, despite OPEC's refusal to cut output as the country had aggressively pushed for. Saudi Arabia blocked calls from poorer members of the OPEC oil exporter group for production cuts to arrest a slide in global prices, sending benchmark crude plunging to a fresh four-year low. The decision is a blow to Venezuela's flailing economy, widely believed to be in recession, and also highlights the country's diminished influence in OPEC, which it helped found. Ramírez also said several OPEC member nations may deal  with price fluctuations individually, and not as organization member. (Reuters,; El Universal,; Veneconomy,; Bloomberg,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional,, Correo del Orinoco,, Últimas Noticias,; Panorama,


Venezuela sets final CITGO bids for December

Bankers representing Venezuela have set a date for prospective buyers to submit revised offers for CITGO Petroleum Corp, a subsidiary of state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), according to people familiar with the matter, despite denials by Finance Minister General Rodolfo Marco Torres. Lazard Ltd, the investment bank hired by PDVSA to explore a sale of CITGO, has set a late-December deadline for new offers, three people familiar with the situation said this week, Reuters reported. (El Universal,


CONOCO says PDVSA sells CITGO to avoid paying arbitration awards

Venezuela's state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) is using the sale of its CITGO Petroleum Corp refining assets to hinder the ability of CONOCOPHILLIPS to collect an expected arbitration award, the US oil company said in a Texas court filing. Evidence indicates PDVSA is liquidating its CITGO interests "to remove the proceeds from the United States to Venezuela or elsewhere with the specific intent to hinder, delay or defraud its creditors," CONOCO said in a petition for court approval to investigate that claim. (El Universal,


El Palito Refinery is processing at one third capacity - some 52,000 bpd since its FCC unit was reactivated two weeks ago, according to union leader Marcos Sabariego. He says that before the FCC was stopped, the refinery was producing between 60,000 and 80,000 bpd. (Veneconomy,





Steelmaker SIDOR's production down 13.3% from 2013

José Luis Hernández, President of the steelmakers union, reports the plant is showing a sustained decline in its production levels since 2008. State-run SIDOR might end the year with an output of 1.3 tons of liquid steel, 13.3% under the 1.5 million tons reported in 2013. The union leader says the steelmaker is reporting a sustained decline in its production levels since 2008. He explained that the factory has an installed capacity to produce 4.6 million tons of liquid steel; however, due to several factors, operations have been reduced gradually and systematically over the last years. (El Universal,



Economy & Finance


Venezuela's public sector foreign assets estimated at USD 16 billion

Barclays Capital reports that Venezuela's public sector foreign assets amount to US$ 16.2 billion, including the available balance in the National Development Fund (FONDEN) and the Chinese Fund, plus deposits in foreign currency in the Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela (BANDES) and the National Office of the Treasury. However, this is 24% below US$ 21 billion last year. The firm says that including international reserves, Venezuela's total assets are US$ 37.8 billion; and reports the government is again planning a roadshow this year to improve communications with international investors. (El Universal,; and more in Spanish El Nacional,


China loosens debt terms for Venezuela

China has loosened repayment terms on the nearly US$ 50 billion in loans it has granted Venezuela since 2007. Analysts say Beijing’s flexibility may buy Maduro more time. Beijing’s largess may appear irrational given economic policies in Venezuela that do not appear sustainable, says Barbara Kotschwar of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “On the other hand,” Ms. Kotschwar said, “they are so invested in Venezuela’s oil industry that they may have calculated that a political crisis would have a negative impact on their return on investment or on Venezuela’s repayment of loans.” China has scrapped the requirement that Venezuela ship at least 330,000 barrels of oil a day as payment for its existing loans. The reduced shipments of Venezuelan crude to China reflect the surplus in international oil markets as well as the Chinese economy’s slower growth, but they also amount to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Venezuela can divert more of its oil to cash customers, instead of using it for debt repayment. China, meanwhile, can play the long game, helping stabilize the Venezuelan economy while keeping the door open to an important market for its oil-services, drilling, mining, appliances and construction companies  (The Wall Street Journal,


Venezuela's economy could contract 4.5% in 2014

 Although the Central Bank is not providing timely economic data, private researchers believe Venezuela's economy could plunge by 4.5% in 2014. The huge drop in domestic goods and serves is estimated in a contraction of -4.5%, -4.4% and -3.9% during the 1st, 2nd and third quarter of this year. More in Spanish: (Notitarde,


Venezuelans dollarize Christmas bonuses as bolivar dives

The bolivar declined the most this month since January as Venezuelans use their Christmas bonuses to buy U.S. dollars amid the world’s fastest inflation and shortages of basic goods. A dollar fetched a record 128.18 bolivars on the Colombian border today, compared with the official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars, according to, a rate-tracking website. The currency has lost 20% of its value in unofficial trading this month. Consumer price increases and shortages of everything from cars to milk are pushing Venezuelans to buy greenbacks, said a black market currency trader in Caracas, who asked not to be named because the activity isn’t legal. The trader said demand for dollars is the highest he has seen since hyperinflation in 1996. Money supply rose 6.4% in the second week of November as workers received their traditional annual bonuses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That was the biggest increase since October 2009. (Bloomberg,


Expert says unified FOREX rate could fix economic mismatch in Venezuela

Economist Tamara Herrera, director of the Síntesis Financiera think tank, says the government should try to work on a single foreign exchange rate around VEB 25 per US$, in order to balance the, improve its cash flow and meet its needs.

The main problems faced by the Venezuelan economy include multiple foreign exchange rates, State's intervention in international trade, arbitrary provision of foreign currency, and arrears.  (El Universal,


Venezuela loses another expropriation case at World Bank’s ICSID tribunal

Chilean airport operator IDC and Swiss partner FLUGHAFEN Zürich have won an arbitration proceeding against Venezuela that was originally filed in June 2010 at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The dispute originated with the expropriation of the airport concession on Margarita Island in Venezuela in 2005. The 3 member ICSID arbitration panel found that Venezuela had to pay a total of US$ 33.7 million for the expropriation, including costs and interest from the 2005 expropriation.  (Latin American Herald Tribune:


Government bonds are again on sale

After having paralyzed the domestic sale of government bonds for 5 months, the Finance Ministry is again putting bonds on the market for a total of  VEB 15.715 billion, in order to pay for debt service, refinancing and fiscal management. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,



Politics and International Affairs


María Corina Machado has been subpoenaed by the Prosecutor General to appear on December 3, to be formally charged with alleged ties with one of the gazillion assassination attempts reported by Nicolás Maduro. The summons was delivered by the SEBIN barely hours after Machado questioned the current and potential Electoral Power for not complying with the Constitution. Machado quickly retorted that she would present herself to the Prosecutor General, and said the charges were being brought because she said the Maduro regime is a dictatorship: "I am being punished for calling things by their name, for saying that there is a dictatorship in Venezuela", she said. She also called for the resignation of four out of five directors of the National Elections Council, and demanded that current Council president Tibisay Lucena and Vice President, Sandra Oblitas, withdraw their nomination for reelection. (Veneconomy,; El Universal,; Reuters,; Bloomberg,; and more in Spanish: (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.


Monday, November 24, 2014

november 24, 2014

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • Over 11,900 tons of frozen beef and chicken from Brazilian company JBS for CASA
  • Over 2,400 tons of pork from Brazil's JBS for CASA
  • Over 1,900 tons of whole milk and margarine from Brazil's JBS for CASA
  • Over 1,219 tons of milk and infant formula milk from Nestlé Argentina for its subsidiary in Venezuela.


SAMSUNG assures it will have products in stock for Christmas and that these would be sold in two to three weeks at the SICAD 1 rate. The South Korean company’s Vice President for Venezuela Luis Cobo reported there were 243 containers at La Guaira Port, waiting to be nationalized and then distributed. (Veneconomy,


Oil & Energy


OPEC division spurs hedge funds to trim bullish oil bets

Hedge funds turned less bullish on crude oil as OPEC failed to signal it will act to halt the collapse that drove prices to a four-year low. Money managers reduced net-long positions in West Texas Intermediate by 4.1% in the week ended Nov. 18, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Long positions sank to an 18-month low. Outstanding futures contracts dwindled to the lowest level in more than two years. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna on Nov. 27 to decide on production after oil plunged 30% since June. Leading producers, including Saudi Arabia, are resisting calls to reduce output while others such as Venezuela seek action to support prices. The 20 analysts surveyed last week by Bloomberg are perfectly divided, with half predicting a cut and the rest no action. (Bloomberg,


Russia may suggest oil output cut of 15 mln T in 2015

Russia may suggest cutting its oil production by around 15 million tons a year (300,000 barrels per day) and expects OPEC to limit its output as well, Kommersant daily newspaper said, citing sources. Before OPEC meets later this week in Vienna, Russia has spoken to members Venezuela and Saudi Arabia about the need to support the oil market and hopes to press its message on the need for higher prices in Vienna on Nov.25. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last week Moscow was looking at the option of cutting its oil production, the world's largest, but said the measure had yet to be agreed. (Reuters,; Bloomberg,


Iran may propose million-barrel daily OPEC cut in Saudi talks

Iran may propose that OPEC cut its output target by as much as 1 million barrels a day when the country’s oil minister consults with his Saudi counterpart before the group gathers this week, Mehr News reported. Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi will talk on the sidelines of the meeting in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, seeking to define a common view among its 12 members for supporting prices, Iran’s state-run Mehr News agency reported, without saying where it got the information. An official in Iran’s oil ministry didn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone yesterday. (Bloomberg,


Venezuela willing to cut oil output along with OPEC

Venezuela would be willing to cut its own oil production if OPEC decides to limit output when it meets on Nov. 27, Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Thursday. Ramirez, who was until recently oil minister and president of state oil company PDVSA, declined to say what specific proposal Venezuela planned to take to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna. Asked which OPEC members would support a proposal aimed at strengthening prices, Ramirez said: "I hope all of them." (Reuters,; Veneconomy,


Venezuela oil barrel falls below US$ 70

Venezuela's weekly oil basket fell to a new 4 year low this week. According to figures released by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending November 21 was US$ 68.97, down US$ 1.86 from the previous week's US$ 70.83. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,; Veneconomy,


First crude shipment mixed with Algerian oil sent to China

PDVSA reports it has sent China its first extra heavy oil shipment mixed with light oil imported from Algeria's SONATRACH. 1.8 million tons of Merey heavy crude will arrive in China in 46 days, it reports. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,


PETROCARIBE member countries have seen a 23% increase of their GDPs since its beginning in 2005, claims Foreign Affairs Minister Rafael Ramírez. On the other hand, Venezuelan Oil and Mining Minister Asdrúbal Chávez points out the agreements of this bloc focus on five structural axes: Transport, communications, productive chains, tourism, trade and the social and cultural aspects of the region. (Veneconomy,




CASA distributed 1,128 tons of corn to private processing plans

The government agency Corporación de Abastecimiento y Servicios Agrícolas (CASA) has distributed 1,228 tons of white corn, to three private processing plants for precooked corn, Food Minister Ivan José Bello, said through his Twitter account. More in Spanish: (El Universal,; AVN;


Economy & Finance


Government expects an additional VEB 150 billion from fiscal changes in 2015

José David Cabello, head of the national tax authority, SENIAT, says recently changed tax laws will yield added income above VEB 150 billion in 2015. More in Spanish: (AVN;; El Nacional;


Additional government spending projected for 2015 doubles

Labor commitments that have emerged this year and budget deficit of government agencies have sped up the search of additional credits, for a total amount of US$ 81.9 billion. The National Assembly reports additional spending is twice last year's US$ 39.1 billion. (El Universal,


Government debt estimated at 30% of GDP in 2015

The Ministry of Economy and Finance estimates that including the expected indebtedness for next year, the total government debt would come to 30% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). During the National Assembly's Finance Committee review of the FY2015 Indebtedness Law, Beatriz Bolivar, head of the National Public Credit Office, noted that by the end of next fiscal year "the debt ratio would stand at 27%-30% of GDP." Authorities would not break down the current balance of government debt, which was US$ 127.7 billion in the first half. (El Universal,


Experts stress the need for macroeconomic revision in Venezuela

Economists see certain caution recent economic measures adopted by the government under the enabling law with caution They fear an outlook of lower growth and higher inflation. According to Professor José Guerra, economic recovery does not only require a fiscal reform, but also a foreign exchange reform. "If a fiscal reform is implemented to collect more taxes in times of recession, recession will certain go deeper," he warns. Former Chavez Planning Minister Felipe Pérez forecasts that deficit in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would hit 20%, and noted that recent fiscal reforms would not even collect two points of GDP. "The deficit is not being covered at all with this measure if other changes are not adopted," he says. ECONOMÉTRICA Director Henkel García believes stabilizing macroeconomic aspects in 2015 should be a priority, and that includes improving the foreign exchange system. (El Universal,


The Seniat will seize properties without judicial orders in the event of non-compliance or tax evasion, according to the overhaul of the Organic Tax Code which was decreed via Nicolás Maduro’s Special Powers. (Veneconomy,


Politics and International Affairs


Human Rights Watch repeated its call to immediately release the Venezuelan political prisoners detained arbitrarily during this year’s protests after a meeting between its Executive Director José Miguel Vivanco and Voluntad Popular’s political coordinator Carlos Vecchio, who was forced into exile. (Veneconomy,

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, November 21, 2014

november 21, 2014

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • Over 776 tons of live cattle from Brazil for Frigorífico Industrial Los Andes, Asociación Cooperativa Hoyo de la Puerta and Carnes El Pozo, C.A.
  • Over 1,160 tons of milk and coffee for state companies.
More in Spanish: (Notitarde;


Logistics & Transport


Air ticket sales down 50% from 2013

Humberto Figuera, president of the Airlines Association of Venezuela (ALAV), reports the number of airplane seats has decreased by 50% in January-October 2014, compared to the same period last year.
Figuera said air tickets sold in 2013 were 3,133,144, and only 1,450,000 tickets have been sold in January-October this year, "that is, half the number sold in 2013".
(El Universal,


Oil & Energy


Venezuela willing to cut oil output along with OPEC

Venezuela would be willing to cut its own oil production if OPEC decides to limit output when it meets on Nov. 27, says Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez. Ramirez, who was until recently oil minister and president of state oil company PDVSA, declined to say what specific proposal Venezuela planned to take to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna. Asked which OPEC members would support that proposal, Ramirez said: "I hope all of them." Chances have risen that OPEC will agree to reduce production, according to oil industry analysts, citing delegates with the producer group. (Reuters,; El Universal,


Paraguaná’s Refining Complex (CRP) is processing crude oil at nearly half its capacity after several power outages, reports union leader Iván Freites on Wednesday. The CRP is processing some 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared to its total capacity of 955,000 bpd, with Amuay processing some 240,000 bpd and Cardón, processing 255,000 bpd. (Veneconomy,


Although PDVSA guaranteed fuel supplies to Aragua and Carabobo states on Tuesday, long lines have persisted at the few gas stations selling gasoline. In Carabobo, public transportation has stopped running in some areas as units have been unable to get gasoline. (Veneconomy,


Foreign Minister says Venezuela to continue promoting PETROCARIBE

Foreign Minister Rafael Ramírez says that despite the drop in oil prices Venezuela will continue to meet oil supply agreements in the Caribbean and Central America through PETROCARIBE. He reports 301 million barrels have been supplied over the past nine years, billed at US$ 28 billion, and that Venezuela has received US$ 14 billion in payment, and US$ 3 billion in kind. More in Spanish: (PDVSA,; El Mundo,; AVN;ón-del-caribe-y-seguridad-energética-son-principal-reto-petrocaribe,ético-petrocaribe,írez-petrocaibe-aminoró-efectos-crisis-del-capitalismo-países-más-pobres; El Nacional;





Economic Affairs VP and automotive industry representatives monitor agreements

Economic Affairs Vice President General Rodolfo Marco Torres has met with representatives of the automotive and spare parts sector to monitor their agreements with the Government aimed at boosting production. GOODYEAR resumed a plan to export tires made in Venezuela amid part of the agreements, says, Marco Torres. He also noted that he held a meeting with representatives of TOYOTA Motor Corporation, also for the follow-up of agreements. "Toyota reaffirms commitment to continue manufacturing vehicles and expresses confidence in Venezuela," he said. (AVN,



Economy & Finance


Maduro raises taxes, reserves to help growth

President Nicolas Maduro raised taxes on goods ranging from yachts to rum and increased international reserves as the government responds to the lowest oil prices in four years. Bonds rallied by the most in almost six years. The president said that the 28 laws he signed using decree powers will restore growth in an economy suffering the world’s fastest inflation and shortages of basic goods. He ordered that a US$ 4 billion loan from China be added to international reserves. “Maduro is at last recognizing there’s a need for a fiscal adjustment and stronger reserves,” says Orlando Ochoa, economics professor at Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. “The measures in themselves are a drop in the ocean given the magnitude of the problem. Rather, this is a signal of bigger steps to come.” (Bloomberg,


Venezuela’s US$ 4 billion reserves boost wins investor approval

Investors in Venezuelan bonds are welcoming steps by President Nicolas Maduro to bolster transparency in government accounts after concern mounted that the country is running out of cash to service its debt. Venezuelan notes posted the biggest rally in three weeks yesterday after Maduro ordered that US$ 4 billion from Chinese loans be added to foreign reserves, which had dwindled to an 11-year low. By transferring the Chinese funds it has increased international reserves to US$ 23.550 billion, according to the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV). At US$ 21.4 billion, including gold assets, the central bank’s holdings only covered about 60% of debt due by the end of 2017. Venezuela’s borrowing costs are the highest in emerging markets at 20.44%. While the loans are intended to pay for specific projects and aren’t supposed to be used to pay debt, the transfer from off-budget funds to central bank accounts may allay concerns that the country is teetering toward default, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The move is a departure from the opacity that often surrounds cash from Chinese loans, which mostly remains in off-budget funds excluded from parliamentary oversight, Caracas-based researcher ODH Grupo Consultor said. Maduro said Marco will travel to China and some OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the next few days to fine-tune four financing modalities. (Bloomberg,; Veneconomy,;; and more in Spanish: Ultimas Noticias,;; El Mundo,;


Regime seeks additional revenue through tax reform

The government has reformed five tax laws to increase income and bridge the gap in public accounts.
President Nicolás Maduro, in the last days of the expiring enabling law, has made changes to the income tax law, the law on value added tax (VAT), the tax law on alcoholic beverages, the tax law on cigarettes and the organic tax code (COT). Following such move, Economy Vice-President and Finance Minister General Rodolfo Marco Torres said the reform of the legal framework would "optimize tax collection and provide additional income."
Such adjustments, he said, "will benefit all sectors. They will not affect the larger tax base. They are progressive tax reforms. Therefore, those who earn more will pay more."
(El Universal,


Government debt estimated at 27-30% of GDP for 2015

The Economic Affairs and Finance Ministry estimates that projected indebtedness for 2015 will bring total government debt to around 27-30% of GDP, as reported by Beatriz Bolívar, head of the National Public Credit Office to the National Assembly's Finance Committee. Officials did not reveal current government debt, which stood at US$ 127.7 billion during the first semester this year. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Analysts say that Venezuela meets all requirements for hyperinflation

Economic analysts say Venezuela is sunk in a number of economic distortions that will lead the nation into hyperinflation during 2015, if necessary steps aren't taken, particularly in foreign exchange policy. They indicate prices will continue to shoot up along with the parallel exchange rate, and scarcity will worsen by March next due to the drop in inventories. They say the newly enacted fiscal reform will cause demand to shrink further. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; El Universal,; El Nacional;


BOFA estimates unified exchange rate should be VEB 35/US$1, subsidy now around US$ 50 billion

Francisco Rodríguez, Chief Economist for the Andean Region at Bank of America Merrill Lynch says a

Venezuela's unified exchange rate should be VEB 35/US$ 1, which is the average of current operations. He says the cost to the government of keeping the subsidized three tiered system is around US$ 50 billion yearly, and advises unifying rates and raising gasoline prices in order to finance subsidies for the neediest. Rodriguez says that by delivering cheap FOREX, Venezuela is "at this time (Venezuela) is paying the greatest tax there is: inflation. Deteriorating buying power is what supports the exchange rate subsidy." More in Spanish: (El Mundo,, and El Nacional;


The overhaul of the Income Act (ISLR), signed by Nicolás Maduro, eliminates tax waivers for cooperatives and foundations. It also eliminates the “inflation adjustment” used by companies. (Veneconomy,



Politics and International Affairs



Obama administration would back sanctions against Venezuela

The Obama administration would like to work with the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on Venezuela in response to a crackdown on anti-government protests, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser told lawmakers on Wednesday. Tony Blinken, who is Obama's choice to be deputy secretary of state, said Washington had refrained from pushing for sanctions in the past few months to allow diplomatic efforts by some Latin American countries to secure the release of opposition leaders from jail and nudge Caracas toward electoral reform. But those efforts have failed, Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his nomination hearing. "We would not oppose moving forward with additional sanctions," he said. (Reuters,; El Universal,


Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister slams visit by Venezuela's Jaua

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Figueiredo told his nation's Lower House’s Foreign Affairs Committee that Brazil forcefully demanded an explanation from Venezuelan authorities since a visit by Venezuelan Communes Minister Elías Jaua was never notified. Jaua used the visit to sign an agreement with a Brazilian rural movement in Sao Paulo, an agreement Brazil does not consider valid. (Veneconomy,; El Universal,; Latin American Herald Tribune,


Bruised Venezuelan opposition may make headway in 2015

National conditions may be slowly turning in favor of the opposition. A sharp economic decline in the OPEC nation, made worse by falling oil prices, means they could make significant gains at legislative elections in 2015. A strong result would encourage the opposition to then seek a recall referendum in 2016 to try and end Maduro's presidency half-way through. It could also embolden factions within the ruling Socialist Party disillusioned with Maduro. He is currently taking a battering in the polls. DATANALISIS, perhaps the country's most respected pollster, said 80% of Venezuelans now view the state of the nation negatively and disapprove of the socialist economic model. Maduro's rating is off from about 50% when he came to power to 30% now, according to the survey in September, while remarkably 68% think he will be out by 2016. "If the elections were today, the government couldn't win," DATANALISIS head Luis Vicente Leon said, predicting the opposition would win with a 20-point margin. Though the next elections for the 165-seat assembly have to be held by the end of 2015, and are traditionally in the last quarter, there is speculation the government might bring them forward to reduce fallout from a deteriorating economy. The opposition coalition's new executive secretary, Jesus Torrealba, insists that change is coming. "The glacier that was 'Chavismo' is starting to melt," he says. (Reuters,


Leopoldo López says he will not attend any more hearings until a decision is reached on a motion filed by his defense over Judge Susana Barreiros’ dismissal of the UN’s resolution before the Appeals Court. López’ attorneys claim the Venezuelan State has no option but to comply with the UN’s recommendation. (Veneconomy,


Venezuelan appointed UN’s Economic Development Deputy Secretary General

Lenni Montiel, is replacing Pakistani Shamshad Akhtar. Montiel was Economic, Social and Development Affairs Director in the Executive Office of the UN’s Secretary General. (Veneconomy,



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.