Oil accounts for the vast bulk of Venezuelan exports to the United States. Imports of U.S. goods and services into Venezuela were US$ 8.32 billion last year, 25.32% less than in 2014, VenAmCham said. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2406828&CategoryId=10717)
Venezuela has paid US$ 1.54 billion in principal and interest owed to international bondholders, the Banking and Finance Ministry said Saturday. That same ministry said this week that Venezuela’s foreign debt rose to US$ 42.53 billion last year; around US$ 3 billion shy of its record-high debt level registered in 2012. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2406626&CategoryId=10718)
- The National Assembly ad hoc committee analyzing the appointment of 34 justices (13 main justices and 21 alternates) to Supreme Court (TSJ) last December by the government’s simple majority found 17 irregularities in their appointment. Among them, that the Nomination Committee was not presided by a legislator after PSUV Deputy Elvis Amoroso resigned.
- The Supreme Court countered with a sentence written by magistrate Arcadio Rosales, stripping the National Assembly of powers to revoke appointments of Supreme Court justices, oversee other state powers, summon government and military officials, and said the two thirds majority within the legislature was 112, after having suspended 3 out of 112 opposition legislators.
- National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup immediately responded saying the sentence “does not exist. The Supreme Court law requires the sentence to be signed by 5 out of 7 magistrates in the Constitutional Chamber, and it was signed by only 4”.
- Ramos Allup further warned pro government legislators that “To depend only, only on Supreme Court sentences means something is very wrong with the government. The regime is very weak, with no popular support, and depends only on Supreme Court sentences; beware of depending on that Court which appears discredited in all polls; if this all collapses – as it is on the verge of doing – we all know what could happen”.
- He also sent a message to the international financial community: “Warning to foreign creditors: contracts in the national interest signed by the chavista government will be absolutely null and void without approval by the National Assembly”
- The National Assembly then voted to ask the OAS to apply Democratic Charter in Venezuela as the constitutional order has been violated here, deplored the TSJ ruling and ratified the Congress as an authority to control and investigate all matters set forth in Article 187 of the Constitution, paragraph 1.