Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello
- 2,974 tons in 266 containers bearing construction materials and mixer trucks from China's Duowei Union Group and Sany Automobile for the Venezuelan Foreign Trade Corporation.
- 2,759 tons in 110 containers bearing milk and frozen beef from Eskimo, Centrolac, Productos Lácteos La Perfecta, Industria Comercial San Martín, Nova Terra y Exportadora San Andrés.
- 1,767 tons of milk from Sancor Cooperativas Unidas for state agency Corporación Venezolana de Comercio Exterior (CORPOVEX)
- 1,752 tons of doors and Windows from Catic Beijing for state agency CORPOVEX.
- 1,134 tons of personal care products such as shampoo, sanitary napkins and diapers sent by Procter & Gamble to their Venezuelan affiliate.
- Over 1,079 tons of maize seed from Colombia for state agency AGROPATRIA and 850 tons from Montesano Comercial for CORPOVEX.
- 155 tons of auto parts sent by China's Chery Automobile to Corporación ZGT.
- Over 121 tons of frozen beef from Loma Bonita S.A.
- 67 tons of frozen beef from Frigorífico Gorina Saic. for state agency Banco del Tesoro
Logistics & Transport
Zulia port operations down 67% due to drop in imports
Ship arrivals in Zulia state are reported to have dropped from 60 to 10, and the Naval Association says difficulties for importers in acquiring FOREX is the main reason. Port activity in the region dropped 67% during the first quarter this year, says Gonzalo Fernández, President of the Zulia State Naval Association (ASONEZ), adding: "Sea transport does not escape the nation's real situation. Trade is lower each year. We have lost markets in North America, Central America and Europe". Weekly routes are now every 15 days. Ships that are over 495 feet long no longer arrive. Exports are also down drastically. From 1,100 containers that used to go out of Zulia, bearing items such as shrimp, crabs, plantains, asphalt and chemicals, they are now down to 20 at the most. He reports that 85% of containers stranded at the port are from the public sector. Activity by customs agents is down 30% since companies to not get the FOREX needed for imports. The worsening situation endangers 40,000 direct jobs and 300,000 indirect ones. Trade in Zulia has had a 90% drop in inventories during the first quarter this year, according to Gilberto Gudiño, of the UCEZ, who adds there is 75% scarcity in vehicle spare parts and 90% scarcity of auto parts needed to assemble vehicles, as well as 90% scarcity in beef. Fernández, of ASONEZ, also says there is a serious problem with sediments in the navigation channel in Zulia, as 19 months have gone by with no dredging by the National Canalization Institute at Maracaibo's port. 15 years ago the channel was 42.5 feet deep and it is now 35.1 feet so ships cannot be loaded at full capacity. More in Spanish: (La Verdad, http://www.laverdad.com/economia/72896-operaciones-portuarias-disminuyen-67-por-caida-en-las-importaciones.html)
Oil & Energy
Venezuela's income from crude oil sales to the US cut by half
Venezuela's income from crude oil sales to the US in January and February this year were US$ 2.156 billion, a 54% drop from last year, according to the US Department of Commerce. More in Spanish: (El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/petroleo/pdvsa/ingresos-por-ventas--de-crudo-a-eeuu-caen-mas-de-l.aspx#ixzz3WnxKa6eW)
PDVSA to pay interest to bond holders
State oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) says that on April 13h it will pay holders of PDVSA bonds 2017, 2027, and 2037 interests accrued for the six-month period ending in April this year. PDVSA says payments are to be made "in compliance with the predefined conditions of the bonds issued on April 12, 2007." Bond holders must go to the bank or financial institution where they purchased the bonds in order to get information about their status and how the payment would be settled. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150408/pdvsa-pays-interests-to-bond-holders)
Venezuela links EXXON presence in disputed zone to Obama Executive Order
Venezuela’s government claims a subsidiary of U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil is carrying out “unauthorized” operations in disputed waters off Guyana and linked them to Washington’s recent diplomatic steps against Caracas. “The actions of (Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd.), with its intention to carry out unauthorized operations within the maritime territory adjoining Venezuela, contradict public international law and show its intent to subvert it,” says Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry. The ministry says it sent a letter to the head of that Exxon unit, Jeff Simon, reiterating its rejection of the company’s intentions and asserting that they violate bilateral obligations signed by Guyana and Venezuela. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2382782&CategoryId=10717; Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43413&idc=4; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/venezuelan-fm-rejects-exxon-mobils-meddling-in-disputed-area)
US will finance energy projects in the Caribbean
On his way to the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama, US President Barack Obama met with the heads of state of member nations within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and announced his country will make an initial contribution of US$ 20 million for public and private investment renewable energy projects in the Caribbean. He said the nations in the region need access to "cleaner" and "more affordable" energy. More in Spanish: (El Universal; http://www.eluniversal.com/internacional/150410/eeuu-financiara-proyectos-de-energia-en-el-caribe; Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/mundo/eeuu-invertira-20-millones-para-impulsar-energias-.aspx; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/petroleo/energias/eeuu-invertira--20-millones-para-impulsar-energias.aspx)
PETROCARIBE inaugurated two new plants in the Eastern Caribbean
PETROCARIBE has inaugurated a GLP cylinder filling plant in Grenada and a fuel storage and distribution plant in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Grenada plant can store 1200 barrels of liquid oil gas; and the Saint Vincent plant can store 34,000 barrels of fuel several tanks. More in Spanish: (PDVSA, http://www.pdvsa.com/; Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/fotos--inauguran-planta-de-gas-licuado-chavez-bish.aspx; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/petroleo/gas/inauguran-planta-de-gas-licuado--chavez-bishop--en.aspx; Agencia Venezolana de Noticias; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/inaugurada-planta-distribución-combustible-hugo-chavez-san-vicente-y-granadinas, http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/inauguran-planta-llenado-gas-grenada)
Rice supply is in critical condition, says Fuad Kassen, head of Venezuela’s National Rice Federation. Rice planted during the dry season is barely 60% of the amount planted in the same cycle last year. Kassen also reports the sector is working at a loss as it costs them Bs.15 to produce one kilogram and they barely get Bs.8.60/kilogram. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43399&idc=3)
Economy & Finance
For three months running Venezuela's Central Bank (BCV) has failed to publish inflation figures (100 days without any figures, actually). It has also failed to publish shortage indexes and GDP data as well as the components of the balance of payments. An IMF mission was in the country just before Easter, trying to solve the lack of transparency in Central Bank statistics to no avail. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43410&idc=2)
Tax reform may be enacted using special powers
President Nicolás Maduro has announced his regime will enact a new fiscal reform using special powers granted to him by the National Assembly. He did not enter into any details about proposed changes. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/ejecutivo-hara-reforma-fiscal-via-habilitante.aspx#ixzz3Wi1WZWtw; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/ejecutivo-hara-reforma-fiscal-via-habilitante.aspx)
Politics and International Affairs
Obama says Venezuela is no threat to the US, Maduro indicates "new era" in bilateral relations
US President Barack Obama has said in an interview that: “We do not believe that Venezuela poses a threat to the United States, nor does the United States threaten the Venezuelan government,” Obama said in an interview ahead of this week’s VII Summit of the Americas in Panama. “But we do remain very troubled by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents, including the arrest and prosecution of elected officials on political charges, and the continued erosion of human rights". He added that neither the United States nor any other member of the Inter-American community “should remain silent” about the situation in Venezuela, although he stressed that Washington “remains open to direct dialogue” with Caracas. he said. Previously, veteran US diplomat Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., Counselor to the US State Department, visited Caracas at the invitation of the Venezuelan government and met with Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez. It was not confirmed whether a planned meeting with President Nicolás Maduro took place. Shannon delivered a message from the US for the Venezuelan government and Rodríguez repeated the demand that President Obama´s Executive Order of March 9th - terming Venezuela a "threat" - should en repealed, according to a brief Foreign Ministry communiqué. Shannon also met with leaders of the opposition Democratic Unity Conference (MUD). MUD Executive Secretary Jesús Torrealba "welcomed" the US initiative on "clarifying" the terms of the Executive Order, and said they "are in favor of punishing those who violate human rights worldwide, but oppose sanctions against an entire nation". After Obama's statement, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro went on national media to say "this could at the moment open a door to start a new historic era of relations between Venezuela, Latin America and the US empire", but added that "we demand the dismantling of the war machine set up in the US Embassy, which is directing the economic war, that has directed the attempt to divide the Armed Forces, that directs the political and psychological warfare. That is not an Embassy for diplomacy, it is a war machine against Venezuela, and it isn't possible that way." (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2382921&CategoryId=10717; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/obama-says-venezuela-is-not-a-threat-asks-for-direct-dialogue; and more in Spanish: El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/canciller-solicito-a-shannon-que-eeuu-derogue-el-decreto; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150410/maduro-abrimos-una-nueva-era-de-relaciones-con-eeuu; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150410/obama-sigue-abierto-el-dialogo-con-venezuela; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150410/mesa-felicito-aclaratoria-de-washington-sobre-su-decreto; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/; Infolatam, http://www.infolatam.com/2015/04/08/canciller-venezolana-se-reune-con-consejero-de-eeuu-thomas-shannon-en-caracas/; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politica/mud--estados-unidos-tendra-una-presencia-mas-activ.aspx)
Venezuela's demand on US Executive Order blocks Summit consensus
Venezuela's demand on including a condemnation of the US Executive Order on sanctions on 7 officials marked for violating human rights and corruption may block a final consensus statement by heads of state meeting at the 7th Summit of the Americas. Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister, Isabel de Saint Malo, will avoid publishing agreements reached during the meeting in formal documents, and instead deliver them to appropriate international organizations, such as the OAS, ECLAC and the Inter American Development Bank. In lieu of a final statement, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela will deliver a final "institutional statement". More in Spanish: (Infolatam, http://www.infolatam.com/2015/04/09/exigencia-venezolana-de-condenar-a-eeuu-impide-consenso-en-cumbre-americas/)
More than 25 former heads of State and government from America and Spain have presented the Panama Declaration, on the eve of the Summit of the Americas. In it they decry “the severe democratic and institutional, economic and social crisis affecting Venezuela.” They also demand the release of Venezuela’s political prisoners and the reestablishment of conditions for the exercise of fundamental rights. Spain's former President José María Aznar read the statement, flanked by Mexico's Felipe Calderón, Colombia´s Andrés Pastrana and Bolivia's Jorge Quiroga. "Silence is equivalent to complicity", he said. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43412&idc=5; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/former-presidents-and-leaders-ask-to-stop-silence-on-venezuela; and more in Spanish: El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/internacional/150410/exigen-a-lideres-de-la-region-dejar-silencio-sobre-venezuela; Infolatam, http://www.infolatam.com/2015/04/09/25-ex-presidentes-firman-declaracion-en-defensa-de-la-libertad-en-venezuela/)
Venezuelan opposition leader Carlos Vecchio met with Bill Clinton in Panama
A key leader of opposition party Voluntad Popular, Carlos Vecchio, met with former US President Bill Clinton within the framework of the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama. The exiled leader said he had the opportunity to thank "Clinton's support in favor of the freedom of Leopoldo López and political prisoners in Venezuela". (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/venezuelan-dissenter-carlos-vecchio-meets-with-bill-clinton-in-panama)
Mayor Ledezma indicted for alleged conspiracy
Venezuela's Prosecutor General has indicted opposition Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma for conspiracy, for allegedly supporting violent groups seeking to create chaos in the country. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150408/mayor-ledezma-indicted-for-alleged-conspiracy)
Colombia asks Venezuela not to harm civilians on shared border
The Colombian government has asked Venezuelan military authorities to avoid actions harming civilians who live at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. On Wednesday, a Colombian citizen was shot when seven fugitives were being chased by Venezuelan Marines. Five of the fugitives were Colombian civilians who were held at the premises of the Marine Corps, Efe reported. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/colombia-asks-venezuela-not-to-harm-civilians-on-shared-border)
Former Justice Garzón: Venezuela faces serious human rights issues
Spanish former Justice Baltasar Garzón says Venezuela faces a serious situation of fundamental rights abuses, which should be investigated. He says it is "fair" that Spanish former socialist President Felipe González is defending two Venezuelan opposition leaders held in custody. "There is undoubtedly a serious human rights issue in Venezuela; we can see it every day," Garzón stressed. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150409/former-justice-garzon-venezuela-faces-serious-human-rights-issues)
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.