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, March 3, 2015

March 03, 2015

International Trade


Over 7,000 tons of food have arrived at Puerto Cabello

Over 7,000 tons in 293 containers bearing milk, coffee, beef, cooking oil and beans, from Centrolac; Colmenitas S.A.; Eskimo S.A.; Productos Lácteos La Perfecta; Alba Alimentos Nicaragua; Panamericana S.A., JBS S/A; Dalian Jai Sunny Trade; and Industria Comercial San Martín, arrived at Puerto Cabello for state agencies CASA and CAFÉ VENEZUELA. More in Spanish: (Notitarde;


As Venezuela coffee output sinks, it swaps oil to import Nicaraguan beans

Venezuela, once a proud exporter of premium coffee, has been reduced to swapping crude oil for growing volumes of Nicaraguan coffee beans to make sure worsening economic turmoil does not prevent people from getting their caffeine fix. For the first time on record, coffee imports this year will exceed the bean output of Venezuela's centuries-old coffee industry, according to U.S. government estimates. The country's shift from net coffee exporter to substantial importer has altered flows in regional markets, boosting prices for some varieties of coffee. It is also another sign of how the collapse in crude oil prices, and resulting pressures on an already deeply troubled Venezuelan economy, has forced the government to take extraordinary measures to keep supermarket shelves stocked with basic goods. (Reuters,



Oil & Energy


Schlumberger-Pdvsa to strengthen cooperation

Eulogio del Pino, President of state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and Paal Kibsgaard, CEO of Schlumberger, French leading supplier of services to the oil and gas industry, have met to assess the execution of joint plans and cooperation among both companies. Del Pino said he was pleased with the progress cooperation among both companies and welcomed Schlumberger s will to increase the amount of the existent facility extended to PDVSA. (El Universal,



Economy & Finance


Betting on Simadi to crush the parallel exchange rate

He is 40 years old and claims that half of them have been spent in the stock market. Ricardo IV Montilla, president of the Venezuelan National Association of Securities Brokers is positive that he, as an entrepreneur, will not leave Venezuela. He is certain that in the advent of the Foreign Exchange Marginal System (Simadi), the days of the parallel exchange or black market, operating in ghost websites, are numbered.

He asks for calm. He speaks of a secured technology platform that will back the foreign exchange marginal system. This new and third system will operate as a complement to the National Center for Foreign Trade (Cencoex) (USD 6.30 per US dollar for food and medicines), and the Ancillary Foreign Currency Administration System (Sicad) (from USD 12 per US dollar for the rest of the economy, including a quota for students abroad and foreign travel, among others). He promises that it is just a question of waiting for the publication in the Official Gazette of the two remaining exchange agreements, which will determine all the rate codes of the items included in the first and second systems. (El Universal,



Politics and International Affairs


Maduro announces diplomatic sanctions against US

In a further deterioration of diplomatic ties between Venezuela and the US, President Nicolás Maduro has announced the number of US diplomats allowed to work in the country must be reduced from 100 to 17 within 15 days, and will impose mandatory visas for Americans travelling to the socialist nation. Under the new measures, Venezuela will start charging tourists the same visa fees the US asks of Venezuelans, though it was unclear when the plan would be implemented. But the restrictions could also have an impact on business travelers seeking to invest in one of the biggest oil producers. Maduro also said that any meetings between US diplomats and Venezuelans would have to be “authorized” by the Venezuelan government. He spoke after the capture of an American pilot of Latin American descent in the state of Táchira, in western Venezuela. He said the pilot, whom he did not identify, was suspected of spying – though he did not provide details. Maduro has accused the US of working with groups critical of his government to plot a coup against him, charges Washington has denied. In addition, Maduro named US politicians who would be barred from entering the country. The list included former President George W Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as Hispanic American politicians Bob Menendez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Marco Rubio, and former CIA director George Tenet. “We will prohibit visas for individuals who want to come to Venezuela who have violated human rights and have bombed Iraq, Syria and Vietnam,” said Maduro. The move was made in retaliation for targeted sanctions imposed by the US against Venezuelan officials and their immediate family members who are deemed responsible for human rights abuses and corruption. The sanctions include denying visas and freezing US-held bank accounts. Carlos Romero, an international relations analyst in Caracas, said the measures announced by Maduro were extreme and would likely bring some sort of reciprocal measure from the US. “We are entering a new phase of already deteriorating relations that is much more negative,” he said, warning that the next step may be a severing of diplomatic ties altogether. “This is going to snowball,” Romero predicted. The announcement of the diplomatic sanctions came on the same day that four American missionaries who were detained for questioning earlier in the week were released and headed home. Venezuela summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires for a meeting with its foreign minister and others, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, adding that she had no other details. (The Guardian,;  Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,; BBC News,; Reuters,; Chicago Tribune,; Al Jazeera,


Empty shelves and coup plots in Venezuela

Venezuela is in a bad state. The country’s economy is forecast to contract 7% this year. Shortages of basic foodstuffs are mounting. Soap and diapers have become luxury items. Crime rates are soaring as poverty rises. So it’s little surprise that polls show that the ruling party can expect a drubbing in congressional elections that are expected to be held later this year. President Nicolás Maduro is in a bind. What can he possibly do? The answer, it seems, is an easy one: trot out a conspiracy. Maduro scathingly attacked his domestic opponents, but he saved his most biting criticisms for the United States, which he said was coordinating efforts to overthrow his regime. Maduro said U.S. diplomats in Caracas were “continuing to call military officers, trying to buy journalists, columnists, and leaders.” “Nobody messes with Venezuela,” Maduro said: “Respect Venezuela, you fucking Yankees. Respect our country. Enough is enough.” The U.S. State Department denied all of Maduro’s charges. Instead, Washington, Amnesty International, the Organization of American States, and even Brazil, a sometimes ally to Caracas, expressed concern about the deteriorating political situation and called for dialogue between Maduro and his opponents. (Foreign Policy,


Carl Meacham: Venezuela’s desperate times and Nicolás Maduro’s desperate measures

Over the weekend, President Maduro announced a series of new measures supposedly designed to counter U.S. influence in Venezuela. All of this bluster and bombast amounts to this: desperate moves from an administration desperate to distract from Venezuela’s desperate political and economic straits. Venezuela—and particularly the government of Nicolás Maduro—is in crisis and the worst could be yet to come. It speaks to his sense of panic: panic over his country’s economic disaster, panic over his unpopularity, and panic over the faltering of Chavismo in a country so wedded to it. The recent arrests of Americans in Venezuela, Maduro’s anti-U.S. speeches, empty rhetoric, and accusations of espionage, sabotage, and collusion—all of this is no more than an attempt at distraction by a floundering leader desperate for his own preservation. (CSIS,


Opposition accuses Maduro of inventing coup attempts to justify repression

Opposition leaders in Venezuela again said President Maduro "invented" a coup attempt he says he prevented last month. Former Presidential candidate Henrique Capriles says his rhetoric aims at distracting attention from economic problems. Capriles says Maduro and officials in his regime "feed violence through speech that disqualifies, offends and tries to distract attention from food and medicine scarcity, from inflation, and the high cost of living....Do not pretend to be victims or come up with the tale that you are being threatened. Venezuelans already know who is who." Baruta municipal mayor Gerardo Blyde says Maduro and his people "need a permanent hide a reality of lines and scarcity...thus this alleged coup they have invented." Blyde points to a statement by former Uruguayan president José Mujica who said Maduro could be the object of a coup, but by left wing military officers. More in Spanish: (Infolatam,


Pope urges rejection of violence, reopening of dialogue in Venezuela

Pope Francis has urged all parties to reject violence in Venezuela, noting that the country “is once again experiencing moments of acute tension,” and encouraged the reopening of a “sincere and constructive” dialogue to resolve differences. “I want to recall Venezuela, which is once again experiencing moments of acute tension. I pray for the victims and – in particular – for the boy (killed) a few days ago in San Cristobal,” said Francis after his Sunday Angelus prayer. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,


Colombia's Santos: alleged plot against Maduro "makes no sense"

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos says he usually talks to his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro to settle disagreements "with caution and respect." Santos said that the idea of an alleged plot to topple Maduro s government involving Colombia "makes no sense". (El Universal,


Perú also supports dialogue in Venezuela

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has repeated his support for dialogue in order to solve Venezuela's domestic crisis and believes that any problem here "will impact all of the Latin American region". More in Spanish: (El Universal,


3,400 Venezuelans at risk of deportation from the United States

In the last couple of years through last January, 3,389 Venezuelans have been delivered from deportation following a decision by US President Barack Obama. Now, the move is at stake. Beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are undocumented immigrants eligible for a temporary work permit and exempted from deportation for a period of three years. Now, however, the project intended to save about four million illegal aliens in the United States is deadlocked. Recently, a court of Texas temporarily blocked the extension of DACA scheduled to start last February 18. For the White House, such situation should be resolved promptly in order to prevent deportation of 230,000 young immigrants who grew up in the United States, including thousand Venezuelans. (El Universal,


Venezuela, Lebanon strike cooperation deals

Venezuelan and Lebanese Foreign Ministers Delcy Rodríguez and Gebran Bassil, respectively, signed cooperation agreements on economy, politics, society and culture, which makes both countries "step forward towards the consolidation of a new international peaceful cooperation policy."(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.


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