Maduro says Venezuela won’t de­fault

The Phnom Penh Post - - MARKBEUTSSINESS -

VENEZUE­LAN Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro in­sisted on Sun­day that his cash­strapped coun­try would “never” de­fault, as he pre­pared to meet with cred­i­tors in Cara­cas to dis­cuss reschedul­ing part of the coun­try’s mas­sive $150 bil­lion debt.

“Never, de­fault will never reach Venezuela,” he de­clared on his weekly tele­vi­sion show. “Our strat­egy is to rene­go­ti­ate and re­fi­nance all the debt.”

Maduro pointed to on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with his al­lies China and Rus­sia, to which Venezuela owes, re­spec­tively, $28 bil­lion and $8 bil­lion.

He said talks with China were “mov­ing along per­fectly” and noted that agree­ment had been reached this week with Moscow to re­struc­ture roughly $3 bil­lion in loans. That was seen to give Cara­cas at least a few weeks’ breath­ing room to make other up­com­ing pay­ments.

But sanc­tions im­posed by the United States in Au­gust – the White House cited the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in Venezuela, the cre­ation of “an il­le­git­i­mate Con­stituent Assem­bly” and “ram­pant pub­lic cor­rup­tion” – have made it hard for the coun­try to raise money from in­ter­na­tional in­vestors.

Venezuela’s huge lev­els of debt have left it in a des­per­ate state, un­able to im­port badly needed food, medicine and other goods.

Maduro ac­cused the fi­nan­cial rat­ing agen­cies, which this week low­ered Venezuela’s debt rat­ing, of be­ing part of a “fi­nan­cial war” waged by the United States, a favourite tar­get of his.

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