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, December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Guanta Port:

  • Over 3,000 of dairy cattle from Brazil.
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • Over 1,000 tons of black beans from China
  • Over 500 tons of polycarbonated resin
  • Over 200 tons of rolled cloth fabric from Panama to Ágata.
  • Over 27 tons of fireworks from China to Distribuidora Triki-Traki
Plus assorted clothing, shoes, personal care products, cell phones and spare parts for vehicles and motorcycles. More in Spanish (Notitarde;



Oil & Energy


HOVENSA refinery deal rejected over contract breach doubts

The U.S. Virgin Islands' legislature has turned down an agreement that would lead to the reopening of the 350,000 barrel-per-day HOVENSA refinery, after its counsel warned that the would-be buyer might not be able to uphold the contract. U.S. oil producer Hess and Venezuela's state-run PDVSA, owners of the shut refinery on the island of Saint Croix, had hired investment banking firm Lazard to sell the plant. (Reuters,



Economy & Finance


Maduro reports oil prices down to US$ 50 per barrel, guarantees resources for 2015

President Nicolás Maduro reports Venezuelan oil prices are "now at US$ 50 (per barrel) and has been oscillating downward" due to "destructive" techniques used by the United States. He also has "fully guaranteed" budget resources needed to cover 2015. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias:; El Universal,


Venezuela's international reserves down to USD 21.6 billion

Data from the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) show that international reserves have plummeted 8% in a month. Back on November 14, BCV assets fell to US$ 19.4 billion, a number that Venezuela had not reached since the end of 2003. After depositing US$ 4 billion from the Joint Chinese-Venezuelan Fund, assets rose to US$ 23.5 billion on November 19. Yet a few weeks later, reserves have plunged again by US$ 1.9 billion on December 19. Reserves now stand at US$ 21.6 billion, as reported by BCV. (El Universal,



Politics and International Affairs


Key authorities designated by absolute majority, in violation of the Constitution according to the opposition

With only 99 votes at the National Assembly the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has named Tarek William Saab as Ombudsman; Manuel Galindo (current Solicitor General) as Comptroller General. Luisa Ortega Díaz was reappointed Prosecutor General. Assembly member Stalin González, leader of the parliamentary caucus of the opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD), has protested that under article 279 of the Constitution, the appointment of those authorities must  be made by two-thirds majority, that is, 110 votes during a plenary session. (El Universal,;


...designation of Supreme Court justices scheduled for Friday

The National Assembly has been called to session on Friday, December 26th, to designate 12 Supreme Court justices and two deputy justices for a 12 year period. Their designation requires a two thirds vote at the National Assembly, according to the Supreme Court Organic Law. More in Spanish: (AVN;ón-magistrados-del-tsj-pasa-segunda-sesión)


...and the Supreme Court will designate Elections Board members

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello says that under current legislation the Supreme Court will name Elections Board directors after the National Assembly failed to meet the two thirds majority required for their designation. More in Spanish: (AVN;ón-para-elegir-rectores-del-cne-pasa-al-tsj)


Venezuela’s Cuba problem

In a surprise announcement US president Barack Obama and Cuban president Raúl Castro, announced a significant thaw in relations between their respective countries. The move has major implications for Venezuela, Cuba's main ally. The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, appeared to be caught unawares, right in the middle of a rhetorical campaign against "insolent, imperialist" sanctions passed by the US Congress just one week beforehand. Unlike the decades-old Cuba embargo, the sanctions are targeted at senior Venezuelan government officials accused of committing human rights violations. Now Venezuela faces the prospect of replacing Cuba as the US's main adversary in the region—just as its economy is imploding and its governability is at risk from internal dissent—or capitulating and losing the support of the already-restive domestic left. The timing could hardly be worse for Mr. Maduro. (The Economist,  


Venezuela’s phony olive branch - Miami Herald editorial

As expected, President Obama last week signed legislation imposing sanctions on government officials in Venezuela responsible for violence and human-rights violations in the wake of anti-government protests early this year. It will allow the president to freeze assets and deny or revoke visas of Venezuelan officials. The decision to sign the sanctions bill, after months of resistance by the White House, represents a recognition that this country could no longer ignore the repression in Venezuela and limit its criticisms to stern admonitions aimed at Caracas. It is an action commensurate with the democratic values that America upholds, including the right to self-expression and peaceful assembly. Venezuelan officials should be held accountable for their behavior. In an opinion article in The New York Times last week, Diosdado Cabello, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, said that the Venezuelan government recently “extended an olive branch” to Mr. Obama by naming an ambassador to Washington and inviting the U.S. administration to name an ambassador to Caracas. He missed the point: Maduro should extend an olive branch to the people of Venezuela, not Washington, allow political opponents like Leopoldo López to leave prison and otherwise start behaving like the leader of a real democracy — which Venezuela once was. Until then, the sanctions should remain in place. (The Miami Herald,


Venezuela rejects European Parliament resolution

The Venezuelan Foreign Office rebutted and labeled as "interventionist" a resolution by the European Parliament (EP), which was adopted by 476 votes, with 109 against, and 49 abstentions, in which the EP stated it is "deeply concerned at the worsening situation in Venezuela and condemns the imprisonment of peaceful protesters, students and opposition leaders." In addition, the EP "urges the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained prisoners." (El Universal,


Opposition is asking Maduro to free political prisoners for Christmas

Rogelio Díaz, Secretary General of the COPEI (Christian Democrat) party has asked President Nicolás Maduro to allow Leopoldo López, Enzo Scarano, Daniel Ceballos and students arrested for protests last February to spend Christmas at home with their families. Freddy Guevara, Political Coordinator for Voluntad Popular has also asked for liberation and is seeking respect for young people who have chained themselves in Altamira square in Caracas. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Former NBA player Carl Herrera improves in hospital after shooting in Venezuela

The team coached by former NBA player Carl Herrera says his condition is improving following a shooting in Venezuela.

The Gigantes de Guayana team said in a Twitter post that Herrera is no longer in critical condition and is "completely out of danger." Herrera was shot Saturday during an apparent robbery attempt at a restaurant on Margarita Island off Venezuela's Caribbean coast. The country's Interior Relations Minister Carmen Melendez says security forces are on the trail of the attackers. (Fox News,


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.

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