Domingo, 09 Diciembre, 2018

EU readies sanctions on Venezuela, approves arms embargo

Reuters Reuters
Orlondo Matamoros | Noviembre 14, 2017, 19:34

Investors eager to be paid back, however, worry that confusion clouds the meeting.

Spain has long pushed for sanctions on those close to Maduro, but the EU has been divided over whom to target.

In Brussels earlier in the day, the European Union banned arms sales to Venezuela and set up a system to slap asset freezes and travel restrictions on Venezuelan officials as it seeks to ramp up pressure on Maduro.

The weapons ban is intended to prevent the government of President Nicolas Maduro from purchasing military equipment that could be used for repression or surveillance. He pointed out that since taking office in 2013, Venezuela has made more than $70 billion in debt payments, including more than $2 billion in the past month.

Maduro invited investors to Caracas a little more than a week ago while announcing his goal of renegotiating a foreign debt that he said has become impossible to repay because of a U.S. -led financial "blockade" of the socialist-run country. "Let all creditors be clear".

The country's oil-dependent economy spiraled into crisis after world oil prices began a plunge in 2014, and it has been hit further by the U.S. sanctions.

Strained relations between Venezuela and the United States are compounding the situation.

Separately, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange said it was halting trading of Venezuela's 2019 and 2024 bonds due to an "event of default".

Last Thursday, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions on 10 current and former Venezuelan officials because of corruption and abuse of power allegations related to Maduro's crackdown on the opposition.

Venezuela's government has faced international criticism since the country's Supreme Court gutted powers of the opposition-controlled congress in March.

In his national address, Maduro said 414 investors had confirmed their attendance, but Russ Dallen, managing partner of Caracas Capital Markets, said he expected far fewer to show up. "There's nothing. Just crickets".