Goldman Sachs Accused of Financing Dictatorship in Venezuela

05 June, 2017, 07:16 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Protesters gather in NYC against Goldman Sachs's Purchase of Hunger Bonds

Activists protest against Goldman Sach's purchase of $2.8 billion worth of Venezuela bonds outside Goldman Sachs' New York headquarters on Tuesday. A source close to the bank said its emerging market bond index is a reflection of economic data and cash available in financial markets, not a country's policies.

According to the people in the know, last week Goldman's asset management division paid US$0.31 on the dollar, or around US$865 million, for bonds that PDVSA issued in 2014 and that mature in 2022.

Goldman's deal comes amid rising unrest in Venezuela, as people protest President Nicolas Maduro's regime.

“To the markets again: Buying hunger bonds, buying blood bonds is condemning and sentencing the people of Venezuela to starvation and to repression, ” he said in an interview. "The problem is that there are only $3 billion of these bonds - so either at least one of the stories is incorrect, or the Venezuela Central Bank recalled the Fintech repo early, or Venezuela and PDVSA made more than $3 billion of this bond".

Venezuelan opposition leader Julio Borges already wrote a letter to the company saying that he would recommend any future, Democratically elected Venezuelan government "not recognize or make payment on" those bonds. In recent weeks, Maduro's administration has been accused of numerous human-rights abuses against protesters against the government.

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"What is happening there in Venezuela today, the people need to recognize - and in fact, I think it's quite clear now that they do - the common Venezuelan citizen recognizes that they are not alone", the official says, "that the hemisphere is in solidarity with them, that the hemisphere is supportive of their just calls for democracy".

President Maduro declared in late April that he was pulling the nation out of the OAS, a regional bloc, after its governing body voted in favor of calling an urgent meeting of foreign ministers to discuss deadly protests in Venezuela. But if a newly elected government reneges on its debt obligations, as Borges has threatened to do, the trade could go awry.

With the once oil-rich economy in crisis - inflation is in the triple digits and many are unable to pay for, or even find, scarce basic goods - as a result of lower oil prices, Maduro's government increasingly relies on such deals to bring in much-needed foreign currency.

The communique also condemned attacks against Venezuelan state officials overseas, as well as against social and political leaders "that support peace and dialogue in Venezuela". That is still down around 50% in the last three years. The nation's dollar shortage, exacerbated by a collapse in oil prices, has left investors trying to gauge the likelihood that the government can keep servicing its debt. Maduro says the protests are a violent effort to overthrow his government, and insists the country is the victim of an "economic war" supported by Washington.

"Little by little", Martínez Yabrudi said, "the countries of the OAS, the countries of the world have realized that they can not be accomplices" to repression.

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