Venezuela's Maduro dismisses default possibility on eve of debt talks

Venezuela's Maduro dismisses default possibility on eve of debt talks”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday (11/12/2017) that his country would not face default in debt.

The United States last Thursday put financial sanctions on another 10 current and former Venezuelan officials over corruption and abuse of power allegations related to Maduro's crackdown on the opposition.

"People say Venezuela will declare a default, it will never happen", Maduro said in a speech broadcasted on state television.

"Our strategy is to renegotiate and refinance all the debt", Maduro said in a televised address Sunday in which he also announced a deal to refinance its debt with ally Russian Federation.

As Venezuela spent heavily on social programs under the late President Hugo Chavez, a time when global oil prices soared, its debt skyrocketed to over $120 billion, about half of which is in the form of dollar-denominated bonds.

Economic sanctions from Washington make it impossible for Venezuela to refinance their debts because U.S. banks can not buy back bonds issued by Caracas. Restructuring talks are equally problematic because the sanctions bar investors from dealings with several officials on the newly appointed debt commission.

Maduro's persistence in refinancing and restructuring in hard situations prompted investors to suspect the president was planning to announce a covert default. "Tomorrow we begin the first round of renegotiation and refinancing of Venezuela's debt". That figure seemed to contrast with the overwhelming response of investors contacted by Reuters, who said they were unlikely to attend.

Investors eager to be paid back, however, worry that confusion clouds the meeting. Market sources said last week they had been told that officials sanctioned by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration would not appear at the meeting.

It's almost impossible for Americans to enter Venezuela on short notice, the government has provided them with no blueprint as a starting point and officials heading the talks have been sanctioned by the Trump administration, making it illegal for Americans to negotiate with them.

They said the sanctions could be reversed depending on how Maduro reacts to the demands for more democracy in the South American nation and the release of political prisoners. "Citibank, you gangsters at Citibank, you have tried to do damage to our country on various opportunities".

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