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As Venezuela's Opposition Stumbles, the Country's Creditors Circle

Jun 28, 2019 | 05:45 GMT
People relax on the bank of the Tagus River where Venezuelan PDVSA oil tanker Rio Arauca lies at anchor, having been impounded by Portuguese authorities for nearly two years due to unpaid debt, March 9. 

People relax on the bank of the Tagus River where Venezuelan PDVSA oil tanker Rio Arauca lies at anchor, having been impounded by Portuguese authorities for nearly two years due to unpaid debt, March 9. The ship is one of 18 vessels declared in emergency by the Venezuelan state-owned oil company after Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) decided to cancel operating PDV Marina (the maritime arm of PDVSA) tankers due to an unpaid debt of some 12 million euros. 

Beyond Venezuela's day-to-day grind through economic and political chaos, legal chaos is looming. Over nearly 20 years of leftist rule, Venezuela has defaulted on nearly $175 billion in foreign debt and expropriated assets from dozens of foreign companies -- most of which took Venezuela's government to arbitration. With yearly oil export revenue sitting at less than $30 billion, Venezuela can't immediately meet most of its obligations to companies seeking debt and expropriation payments. And with the opposition faltering in its bid to unseat President Nicolas Maduro, credible attempts to lay the groundwork for a future economic recovery are receding. Given that, the economic task facing the opposition -- should it ever grab power -- will become larger than ever as the issue of unresolved payments clouds the prospects of sustainable growth....

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