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, September 22, 2015

September 22, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 140 containers of beef, milk and refined oil for state agency CASA
  • 150 containers with medication from Cuba, for state agencies CDI and SRI
  • 114 containers of auto parts and supplies - batteries, tires and shock absorber parts - for state agencies AGROPATRIA, PDVSA and UNOCAR
  • 926 bundles of steel mesh from the Dominican Republic for PDVSA's housing program
  • 692 tons of synthetic rubber from Goodyear Tire Rubber in the US for their Venezuelan affiliate
  • 204 tons of natural rubber in 10 vans from Guatemala, also for Goodyear Venezuela.
  • 70 tons of white rice in 3 containers from ALBA El Salvador


Venezuelan Port Authority reports 30,000 tons of yellow corn arrived at Maracaibo's port for 16 distributors, and 5,000 tons of fertilizers at La Ceiba in Western Venezuela for state agency PEQUIVEN. It also reports 3,000 heads of cattle from Brazil have arrived for state agency CASA into Guanta port, in Eastern Venezuela. More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,;


Uruguay to pay off discounted oil debt with produce

Uruguay has signed closed a deal to pay off its oil debt to PDVSA at a discount and by exporting to Venezuela 44,000 tons of powdered milk; 12,000 tons of cheese; 90,000 tons of rice; 80,000 tons of soy and 9,000 tons of chicken. The first shipment will depart in next week. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,


Bureaucratic hurdles prevent surge of exports

Ramon Goyo, president of the Venezuelan Exporters' Association (AVEX), says that without a diversified, cutting-edge economy with a long-term prospect, non-traditional exports will hardly rebound. Nor will decline heavy dependence on oil and rent-seeking that have developed in the domestic economy in all these years, as recognized by the government itself. (El Universal,



Oil & Energy


Venezuela oil price slips again

After bouncing up $6.50 in the first week of September, Venezuela's weekly oil basket price slipped for a second week as oil prices around the world continued falling on worries over a slowing China and a plentifully supplied market.

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 September 18 was US$ 40.79, down 29 cents from the previous week's US$ 41.08. (Latin American Herald Tribune,





Iron and steel industry needs 19 MM tons to cover costs, global prices down

Venezuela is part of the richest concentration of iron on planet, and holds high quality mineral in Guayana (south Venezuela). By 2014, proven reserves were 14.62 billion tons (MMT), estimated to be exploited for about 300 years. While the government's Iron and Steel Corporation of Venezuela has plans to produce 19 million tons of iron in the next years to cover costs and investments, the price per ton has dropped since 2010, from US$ 125.18 to US$ 44.10 in July 2015. Geological reserves have shrunk in the past years due to lack of new exploration plans, the financial crisis, foreign currency in short supply, poor availability of exploration drills and the priority to take marketable mineral to the plants. (El Universal,



Economy & Finance


Venezuela's Central Bank is illegally withholding its financial statements, faces Transparency suit

Venezuela's Central Bank has failed to publish its financial statements - as required by law - since March this year. Sources within the bank say it is on explicit orders from the government. Transparency Venezuela has brought suit against the bank for failing to do so. Some operations - such as swaps - have been made public through reports from the International Monetary Fund. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Arbitrator reinstates suspension of award to Exxon by Venezuela

A World Bank arbitration tribunal has reinstated a suspension of an order for Venezuela to pay US$ 1.6 billion to Exxon Mobil Corp in compensation for nationalization of oil facilities, pending a decision on the country's request to annul the award. The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) said on its web site that "following several communications from the parties, the ad hoc Committee issues a decision on the stay of enforcement of the award," without giving further details. In a statement announcing the stay of enforcement, the Venezuelan attorney-general's office added a decision on the annulment request was expected in 2016, and "the republic expects the award to be annulled." (Reuters,



Politics and International Affairs


Venezuela and Colombia agree to restore ambassadors and "progressively normalize the border"

Venezuela and Colombia have reached an agreement to solve the problems on their border, based on mutual respect and international law. Presidents Juan Manuel Santos and Nicolás Maduro met in Ecuador in a bid to ease tension that has paralyzed trade and movement along the sparsely populated 2,219 km (1,378 miles) border, five times the size of the one separating France and Germany. The meeting was brokered and attended by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, a close ally of Venezuela, and Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vazquez, the current rotating head of the 12-member Union of South American Nations. After the meeting, Correa read a joint statement by the two sides agreeing to the return of diplomatic delegations in both countries; an investigation into the situation of the Colombian-Venezuelan border; to "progressively normalize the border" and to hold ministerial meetings in Caracas about the border situation and immediate meetings of ministers to address sensitive issues for both countries. (The Washington Post:; El Universal,; Reuters,;


Venezuela says fighter jet crashes after entry of 'illicit' plane

A Venezuelan fighter jet crashed near the Colombian border, killing both pilots aboard, after an "illicit aircraft" likely linked to drug trafficking entered its airspace, the government here said. "An illicit aircraft entered via the northwestern region on its course to the south towards the border with Colombia, an area where mafias linked to narcotrafficking want to use our territory as a distribution platform for drugs produced in the neighboring country," Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said in a statement. A completely destroyed Russian-made Sukhoi-30 jet was located in the border state of Apure, Padrino added. President Nicolás Maduro subsequently announced he is purchasing 12 more Russian made Sukhoi aircraft. (Reuters,;


Venezuelan soldiers reported crossing border into Colombia

Inhabitants of the village of Majayura in the Colombian municipality of Maicao reported that troops of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard, or GNB, had crossed the border and entered the country. The commander of the Colombian army’s 1st Division, Gen. German Saavedra, said in a communiqué that the No. 10 Armored Group received “reports from the community that a group of approximately 15 members of the Bolivarian National Guard entered Colombian territory in the Montelara area, in the village of Majayura in Maicao municipality” of La Guajira province. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


UN: Some 20,000 Colombians have left Venezuela

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports as many as 19,686 Colombian immigrants have returned to their country voluntarily from Venezuela since the current border bilateral crisis started in August 19, while additional "1,608 people have been deported". The UN office pointed out that the number of Colombians who have returned could be higher than that mirrored in the official record, considering that the number of people that have come back to Colombia through informal border crossings remains unknown. (El Universal,


Opposition demands an end to state of siege in border states

The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Conference has demanded that - after Maduro's meeting with Colombia's Santos - the state of siege in 3 border states must be called off. In a statement it voices concern over the turn the border crisis has taken and asks both presidents for sanity and responsibility beyond "mean and personal" interests. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


...and on the Eastern front, Guyana vows to take the Essequibo case to The Hague

Guyanese President David Granger said his government will take to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the border dispute with Venezuela for the Essequibo. The Guyanese president said that next week, he will capitalize on his visit to the United Nations (UN), to request the UN General Assembly to settle the dispute at The Hague court instead of being analyzed by a mediator, as it has been so far. "We will resort to the Court. We are no more interested in a sterile process," he added. (El Universal,


VENECONOMY: The Truth about the Essequibo Region 

As it is a well-known fact – and there is plenty of evidence – Chávez, endorsed by his then-Foreign Minister, Nicolás Maduro, tacitly waived the rights of Venezuela in the Essequibo area by maintaining his complicit silence since he came to power in 1999 when Guyana started a territorial dispute with Venezuela.  A complicit silence maintained on purpose by Chávez with two clear goals in sight: 1) Make a concession to his mentor Fidel Castro, so that he could pay back the aid granted by Guyana to communist Cuba when it required refueling its aircraft during the so-called Operation Carlota, the military mission that kept Cuba in Angola from 1975 until 1991. 2) Look for the necessary votes to achieve his political ambitions across the region and guarantee the silence from CARICOM member countries in the UN and OAS before the democratic de-institutionalization in Venezuela. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Elections Council rejects OAS observers in elections...opposition insists on them

The 4 to 5 pro-regime majority within the National Elections Council has approved a plan for international "accompanists" to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections on December 6th, granting the key role to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), MERCOSUR and CELAC, as well as countries with which the Council has agreements for cooperation, such as Russia, India, Philippines, Mali and South Korea. The Council's chairperson, Tibisay Lucena,  said that since 2006 the institution has "put an end to electoral tourism...and politicians posing as elections specialists".  In doing so they implicitly turned down observers proposed by the Organization of American States (OAS). The opposition coalition - Democratic Unity Conference (MUD) continues to insist on observers from the OAS, the UN, and the European Union. MUD international spokesman Timoteo Zambrano says it is "unacceptable and incomprehensible" for the Council to exclude the OAS. Last June, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro offered to send a group of observers, and was rebuffed by President Nicolás Maduro, who said "Venezuela is not monitored, and will not be monitored by anyone. We will never accept it". More in Spanish: (El Universal,; El Nacional;; Infolatam,


Venezuela's opposition protests Lopez sentence, Spain's González calls it a "mockery"

Venezuela's opposition staged protests in the country's main cities on Saturday to decry the near 14-year jail sentence handed to politician Leopoldo Lopez and galvanize support for the December parliamentary elections they are forecast to win. Opposition activists rallied in Chacao, a Caracas district where Lopez was once mayor, to denounce what they consider a sham trial which Spain's former President Felipe González has called a "mockery". González held a press conference in Madrid along with Lilian Tintori, wife of the imprisoned leader, and said the sentence "is proof of the nature of tyranny" Venezuela is undergoing. At the same time, Michel Forst, the UN human rights reporter, spoke out for jailed mayor Antonio Ledezma and the opposition. Hundreds of activists chanted and waved flags, while some paraded around with a mannequin representing judge Susana Barreiros -- who sentenced Lopez -- holding a briefcase stuffed with fake dollars. (Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional;


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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