According to the Venezuelan law, those arrested are accused of non-compliance with the special security-area regime, self-fraudulent embezzlement and association to commit an offense. This could lead to Venezuela's eventual debt default, with the country's total debt estimated to be at least $150 billion (€130 billion). That figure seemed to contrast with the overwhelming response of investors contacted by Reuters, who said they were unlikely to attend.
Venezuela has been in a massive recession since Maduro succeeded the late president Hugo Chavez in 2013. The drop in crude prices has ravaged the country that sits atop the world's largest oil reserves, leading to widespread shortages amid triple-digit inflation. Bonds issued by Venezuela and state oil company PDVSA rallied on Friday as efforts to keep current on obligations fueled optimism ahead of the meeting. "Tomorrow we begin the first round of renegotiation and refinancing of Venezuela's debt".
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday the country would never default on its debt, a day before debt talks with creditors that will be overseen by two officials under sanction by the United States. Russia has already agreed to restructure $3 billion in loans. None of the commission members have an economics or finance background.
Vice President Tareck El Aissami, tapped to head the negotiations and sanctioned by the U.S. government, read a short statement about how U.S. sanctions had made it difficult for the government to pay its debts on time, without clarifying whether it would continue to make payments going forward, according to the people who said they attended. Caracas has meanwhile criticized the sanctions as "illegal" and "absurd".
But in a sign the Trump administration might be willing to soften its stance, the Treasury Department said last week that it would consider allowing Americans to deal in new debt if any restructuring plan was backed by Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress, whose authority has been steadfastly ignored by Maduro's government. The EU said that its creation had "further eroded the democratic and independent institutions". Trump's administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions this year, accusing Maduro's government of undermining democracy and violating human rights.
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