Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:
- Over 2,949 tons of resin for manufacturing packing, in 131 containers from AMCOR in the US for PEPSI COLA.
- Over 1,852 tons of metal doors and sanitary equipment for housing from China for CORPOVEX.
- Over 668 tons of steel formwork from China for state company BARIVEN
- Over 261 tons of corn meal for animal consumption from Delong for Avícola La Guásima
- Over 250 tons of corn seed in 13 vans for Mexico for state agency CORPOVEX.
- Over 209 tons of housing construction material from Wodson Int. for state agency Servicio Fondo Nacional del Poder Popular (SAFONAPP)
- Over 62 tons of sanitary napkins in 7 containers from Procter & Gamble in Mexico for their local affiliate.
Oil & Energy
Venezuelan oil basket rises to US$ 55 per barrel
The Venezuelan oil basket rose to USD 55 per barrel last week, a US$ 2.39 increase from the previous week, when it was US$ 52.61, according to Asdrubal Chavez, Minister of Petroleum and Mining. The Ministry of Petroleum reports crude oil price has averaged US$ 45.53 per barrel to date in 2015. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150504/venezuelan-oil-basket-climbs-to-usd-55-per-barrel)
PDVSA reports paying interest to bond holders
State run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) notified all the holders of Pdvsa bonds maturing in 2017 that interest for the six-month term ending May 2015 would be paid on Monday. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150504/pdvsa-reports-payment-of-interest-to-bond-holders)
Ford Venezuela will halt production from May 4 to May 18, due to the lack of materials and there are no guarantees it will resume activities again. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43732&idc=3; and more in Spanish: (Diario 2001, http://www.2001.com.ve/en-la-agenda/96393/ford-motors-paralizado-por-segunda-vez-en-el-ano.html; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
Economy & Finance
Maduro raises salaries, says nothing about announced "economic shakeup"
President Nicolas Maduro has decreed a 30% increase in minimum wages across the board for Venezuelans, but failed to speak of the "economic shakeup" he had vowed to announce on May 1st. He called upon the working class to further organize to "undertake managing the nation's economy, build socialism and defeat bigwigs in economic war". Opposition leader Henrique Capriles retorted that this increase "does not solve the issue of the highest inflation on earth.". FEDECAMARAS President Jorge Roig said that recurring minimum wage increases are proof that the government has been unable to control inflation and warned that many small and medium businesses will be unable to pass on the cost increase to consumers. More in Spanish: (Infolatam, http://www.infolatam.com/2015/05/04/maduro-decreta-aumento-del-salario-pero-posterga-revolcon-economico/; and El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/laboral/capriles--ese-aumento-de-salario-no-resuelve-la-in.aspx#ixzz3ZA62sIr3; http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/gremios/fedecamaras--muchas-empresas-no-van-a-poder-pagar.aspx#ixzz3ZFsRUwRF; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150505/opinan-que-alza-de-salarios-no-ataca-problema-de-fondo)
Venezuela's Benacerraf family buys Espirito Santo bank in the US
Venezuela's Benacerraf banking family has agreed to acquire the Miami arm of collapsed Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo for US$ 10 million. "The expertise of well-established banking families is a superb catalyst for our growth and rededication to serving our customers," a spokesperson for the Miami-based subsidiary, known as Espirito Santo Bank, said Friday. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2385903&CategoryId=10717)
Gold swap is considered logical
Francisco Rodríguez, director of the Bank of America Meryl Lynch, believes that swapping a portion of Venezuelan gold is a perfectly logical move, particularly in the context of a drop in terms of exchange at 50% or more. "There should be a process of adjustment to this new reality, but this process should be gradual," he said.
Rodríguez recommended that Venezuela use its savings and indebtedness capacity in the transition, together with a cut of imports, which fell 18% in January 2015. "This had to happen because revenues lowered and expenses should be curtailed. Such a drop of exchange should be at 20%, it does not have to be at 50%, even if prices have fallen 50%. It makes sense for the country to use its savings." (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150504/gold-swap-regarded-as-logical)
Politics and International Affairs
Opposition parties agree on consensus candidates in over 80% of parliamentary constituencies
The groups and political parties that make up the opposition Democratic Unity Conference have by consensus agreed to nominate a single unity candidate for the upcoming elections in over 80% of Venezuela's parliamentary constituencies. In constituencies where there is no consensus candidates will be selected through primaries. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
López and Ledezma wives in Brazil to denounce HR violations
Lilian Tintori, wife of detained dissenter Leopoldo López, has landed in Brazil, along with the wife of Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma, to denounce irregularities committed by the Venezuelan regime against political prisoners, and human right violations against all Venezuelans. "We are in Brazil to denounce once again the regime's abuses: over 80 political prisoners, including opposition leaders, Venezuelan students, who are unfairly behind the bars by Nicolás Maduro for dissenting; kidnapped public powers, inflation, shortages, impunity. Venezuela is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Human rights are not respected, and the anxiety about finding food, medicines, and security on the streets, oppresses Venezuelan families each day," Tintori noted as she arrived in the airport. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150504/tintori-and-mitzy-de-ledezma-visit-brazil-to-denounce-hr-violations)
The five Cuban agents, accused of spying in the United States, will be welcomed as “heroes” in Venezuela by Nicolás Maduro’s regime. They will arrive to Caracas to pay tribute to Hugo Chávez and visit “places of historic and socio-economic interest” in Aragua, Barinas, Carabobo, Zulia, Anzoátegui and the Capital District, according to the Cuban Embassy in Venezuela. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43737&idc=1; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150504/five-cuban-spies-honored-with-the-keys-to-the-city-of-caracas)
Saab: Club de Madrid is an illegal cartel to discredit Venezuela
Venezuelan Ombudsman Tarek William Saab described Club de Madrid, a leadership alliance comprising 90 former heads of State, as an "illegal cartel" seeking to "discredit the country, to harm the country with clear objectives."
Saab said that Club de Madrid was somehow promoted by the President of the United States, Barack Obama. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150504/saab-club-de-madrid-is-an-illegal-cartel-to-discredit-venezuela)
Samper advocates normalization of Venezuela-Spain relations
The Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Ernesto Samper, has advocated normalization of diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Spain, based on "respect for the institutions" of Venezuela. Relations between Spain and Venezuela have had ups and downs over the last years, and tensions rose again in April as both governments recalled their ambassadors for consultations after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro lambasted the Spanish government. Samper, a former president of Colombia, rejected foreign meddling in Venezuela's affairs and criticized the stance of Spanish ex-president Felipe González on Venezuela's internal situation. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150504/samper-advocates-normalization-of-venezuela-spain-relations)
Preliminary investigation into Brazil ex-President Lula over construction deals in Venezuela
Brazilian prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva over alleged influence peddling. The federal prosecutors' office has confirmed reports that Lula is being questioned over claims that he helped leading construction firm ODEBRECHT win contracts abroad between 2011 and 2014. They now have 90 days to decide whether to launch a full inquiry. Lula and ODEBRECHT have denied any wrongdoing. Brazil's EPOCA magazine reported on Friday that Lula had allegedly persuaded foreign leaders to give inflated contracts to ODEBRECHT. It also claimed that the former president had helped the company obtain low-interest loans from Brazilian state development bank BNDES. According to EPOCA, ODEBRECHT paid Lula to travel to countries including Cuba, Ghana, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic to help secure the deals. Paulo Okamotto, head of the Lula Institute, said in a statement that the former leader rejected all the allegations. ODEBRECHT has said that its relationship with the former president was "institutional" and that Lula had never acted in a lobbying role for the firm. (BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32587905)
Venezuela sends technical and humanitarian mission to Nepal
The government of Venezuela has sent a technical and humanitarian mission to Nepal to conduct an on-site assessment of the most urgent needs after the 7.8 Richter scale earthquakes that hit the country recently.
The mission includes a medical team, two forensic engineers, and tree unit technicians, who will assess the needs of the people of Nepal for 20 days, so the Venezuelan State can prepare a shipment of medical supplies and essential products, the Ministry of Information explained in a communiqué, according to Efe. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150504/venezuela-sends-technical-and-humanitarian-mission-to-nepal)