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, June 2, 2015

June 02, 2015

International Trade


CONSECOMERCIO warns that there is no merchandise transiting customs

Cipriana Ramos, President of the National Council of Trade and Services (CONSECOMERCIO) has warned that "there is no merchandise transiting customs" due to the lack of FOREX allocation, and terms the situation critical at port cities. She says "there are no imports, very few due to the drought in FOREX", and adds "Venezuela's market is fed by imports because there is no domestic production". More in Spanish: (El Mundo,



Oil & Energy


Venezuela oil price falls for 2nd week

Venezuela's weekly oil basket price fell for the second week after 8 straight weeks of gains as well-supplied markets continued to push prices down inspite of the beginning of the US driving season. 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 May 29 was US$ 55.37, down US$ 0.91 from the previous week's US$ 56.28. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


ExxonMobil has found oil in the Essequibo region disputed by Venezuela

ExxonMobil has made a significant oil discovery in their first drilling on a well called the Stabroek Block, "located 120 miles offshore Guyana."  The Guyanese are partners in the future exploitation (of which they expect to start reaping the benefits over the next few years) in which Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. (a subsidiary of ExxonMobil) holds 45% interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30% interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25% interest. (El Universal,





Import requests approved for packaging industry

The government has approved requests for FOREX by the packaging industry, according to a report by José Manuel González, President of the Packaging Chamber. He said the approvals were for important amounts: "before they were scarce, but these have been significant. Some companies got 100% approval for their pending requests". More in Spanish: (El Nacional,



Economy & Finance


Central Bank meets with private banks to halt the rise in parallel FOREX market

The Central Bank has invited representatives of the private financial system to meet in order to analyze the rise in the parallel exchange rate and possible options to halt it. This will be the first step taken by the Central Bank - after a long time - to discuss the problems with the FOREX system. It is reported that the government is hoping to get private banks to trade their FOREX holdings within the official SIMADI system. More in Spanish:  (El Nacional,


Former Vice President Rangel sounds an alarm on the economy

Former Chávez Vice President José Vicente Rangel, who also served Chavez as Foreign Minister and Defense Minister,- has referred to the national economy in his weekly column this week. After a lengthy defense of Diosdado Cabello, he wrote "anxiety is growing due to what is going on (in the economy) ...the dollar exchange is rocketing to unheard of levels...and the reason mentioned is is not an answer, because every crisis has a moment when the devils run loose. Well meaning criticism must be considered." After repeating pollster Luis Vicente's quote that "this mess will not be solved by spouting out trash, closing web pages or throwing people into jail, but by restoring lost rationality", he indicates that "lost rationality" means "taking note of different opinions, sharing serious proposals, and not locking into unyielding positions." More in Spanish: (Noticias24,


Venezuela is holding the highest gold reserves in Latin America

The state information agency AVP has divulged a report by the World Gold Council that indicates Venezuela is holding the highest and most stable gold reserves in Latin America. The report Venezuela's gold reserves of 367-6 tons, which is 69.3% of its total reserves, and is in 16th place in the world. Mexico follows with 122.3 tons, which are 2.4% of its total reserves. More in Spanish: (Agencia Venezolana de Noticias;


IADB has disbursed US$ 7 billion to Venezuela since 1961, considering future plans

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has sponsored 347 development projects intended to improve Venezuelans' lives since 1961, including a plan on "Promotion and development of renewable energy sources in Venezuela." Past projects include the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras, signed in June 2013. New projects from Venezuelan businesspersons are currently being considered, but there is yet no commitment as to the outlay. One plan, in the preparation stage, is intended to encourage renewable energy sources in rural communities of the Andes and south Venezuela. (El Universal,



Politics and International Affairs


Capriles warns the regime has not ruled out suspending parliamentary elections

Former Presidential candidate and Miranda State governor Henrique Capriles says the delay in announcing a date for the next parliamentary elections slated for this year is because the regime "does not rule out" the idea of suspending them. He adds that "never before has there been a date not disclosed with the appropriate advance time for elections scheduled the same year".  National Elections Council President Tibisay Lucena has said the voting will take place in the last quarter this year, and President Nicolás Maduro has said they will be held "come rain or shine". But Capriles said Lucena is the "campaign manager for abstention", which is what she is seeking, and adds that "never before" has the government party been "losing by 20%" in "any poll".  Capriles says "the government is the only one interested" in dividing the opposition. More in Spanish: (Noticiero Digital,


Opposition march draws thousands to demand release of jailed opposition leaders

Thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in Caracas and across the nation in support of jailed opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Daniel Ceballos, both on a hunger strike to demand their release and the scheduling of this year’s legislative elections. The demonstrators, most of them wearing white, marched down one of the principal streets of the capital with banners and slogans calling for Lopez and Ceballos to be freed along with other political prisoners like the metropolitan mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, while slamming the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Lilian Tintori, wife of Leopoldo López, reports he has lost 5 kilos and refuses to be transported in an ambulance. He was taken in military transport to the Palace of Justice for renewed hearings in his case. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; and more in Spanish: (El Nacional,


Maduro: No foreigner can come and give me orders

President Nicolás Maduro has rejected the visit of former presidents Andrés Pastrana (Colombia) and Jorge Quiroga (Bolivia), who came to Venezuela to try to visit detained dissenters Leopoldo López and Daniel Ceballos. "No one from abroad can ever come to give me or the people of Venezuela orders," Maduro said. (El Universal,


Venezuelan regime to be evaluated by three UN bodies

June will be a busy month for Venezuelan authorities when it comes to human rights, as they are to face three evaluations by three different bodies of the United Nations (UN). The first test will be before the International Labor Organization (ILO), with which labor unions have filed complaints related to harassment or detention against workers' representatives, and the Venezuelan government's refusal to discuss collective bargaining agreements, said the Worker's National Union (UNETE). Another Venezuelan delegation will appear before an independent experts' committee in Geneva (Switzerland). The committee is to evaluate Venezuela's level of compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Last, Venezuelan authorities will appear before the Civil and Political Rights Committee, to face reports on lack of independence of the Judiciary, criminalization of protest, the state of affairs in prisons, the trend to criminalize demonstrations, and of course, reports of abuses by police and military officers during anti-government protests staged in Venezuela in 2014. In this last evaluation, Venezuelan officials will not only be given feedback and recommendations, but also a deadline to adopt them. (El Universal,; Veneconomy,


Cabello will sue in U.S., Spanish media over drugs reporting

National Assembly President Captain chief Diosdado Cabello says he plans to file lawsuits in Spain and the United States following media reports that link him and other top officials to cocaine trafficking and money laundering. The Wall Street Journal has reported that U.S. federal prosecutors were gathering evidence from former cocaine traffickers and military defectors as part of an investigation into Cabello, No. 2 of the ruling Socialist Party. Spanish newspaper ABC published a story alleging Cabello's former security chief had fled for the United States with evidence that Cabello was involved in the drug trade. Cabello denies the charges, and has sued three Venezuelan media outlets for republishing information from the ABC story. (Reuters,; Veneconomy,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,


Pope Francis will receive Nicolás Maduro this Sunday, June 7 when the latter will be visiting Rome to receive an FAO’s award. (Veneconomy,; El Universal,


There are 18,000 criminal bands operating in Venezuela with some 72,000 free criminals and around 60,000 who remain incarcerated, according to attorney and criminologist Fermín Mármol García. He explained there are 70 murders in Venezuela for every 100,000 inhabitants, and claimed only six crimes are solved out of every 100 in the country. (Veneconomy,


Deportation of Venezuelans from the United States plummets

Deportation of Venezuelans from the United States dived to its lowest level in the past seven years, accounting for 153 expulsions at the end of 2014. In any case, this has not discouraged some US politicians from bringing forward initiatives to prevent deportation of Venezuelans. In 2007-2014, US authorities deported 2,937 Venezuelans for having committed some kind of offense, mostly related to migration fraud. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that by 2014, 153 Venezuelans were deported compared with 187 in 2013, that is: an 18% decline. (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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