Venezuela’s Maduro in Mos­cow seek­ing fi­nan­cial help

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

MOS­COW: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Venezue­lan leader Ni­co­las Maduro will on Wed­nes­day dis­cuss badly needed fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to help prop up the so­cial­ist coun­try’s col­laps­ing econ­omy.

Hit by low oil prices, mis­man­age­ment and the im­pact of US sanc­tions, Venezuela is in freefall. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Maduro had trav­elled to Mos­cow specif­i­cally to ask Rus­sia -- it­self the tar­get of US sanc­tions -- for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

“The talks will fo­cus on the help which the Venezue­lan lead­er­ship needs,” Peskov told re­porters, de­clin­ing to be more spe­cific.

He said the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in the Latin Amer­i­can coun­try re­mained dif­fi­cult but noted “signs of im­prov­ing dy­nam­ics”.

Eco­nomic chaos

Venezuela, which has been rocked by deadly protests and eco­nomic chaos, is count­ing on Rus­sian sup­port amid grow­ing in­ter­na­tional iso­la­tion.

Food and medicine short­ages have sparked an ex­o­dus of some two mil­lion peo­ple. The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund projects hy­per­in­fla­tion of 10 mil­lion per cent next year.

Af­ter Maduro held talks with Putin last year Rus­sia, Venezuela’s ma­jor cred­i­tor, agreed to re­struc­ture $3.15 bil­lion of debt taken out by Cara­cas in 2011 to fi­nance the pur­chase of Rus­sian arms. Largely iso­lated from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Maduro is try­ing to shore up sup­port from his al­lies.

He is vis­it­ing Mos­cow af­ter host­ing his Turk­ish coun­ter­part Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan in Cara­cas. Rus­sia and Venezuela en­joy a long his­tory of ties and Maduro’s pre­de­ces­sor Hugo Chavez, known for his pas­sion­ate tirades against the United States, was a wel­come guest at the Krem­lin.

- Reuters file photo

SHORE UP SUP­PORT: Largely iso­lated from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Ni­co­las Maduro is try­ing to shore up sup­port from his al­lies.

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