European Union slaps sanctions on crisis-hit Venezuela

European Union slaps sanctions on crisis-hit Venezuela”

The move follows Washington slapping punitive sanctions on Caracas after labelling Maduro a "dictator" and as Venezuela scrambles desperately to restructure its debt - estimated at up to US$150 billion (RM628 billion) - to stave off default.

The European Union has banned arms sales to Venezuela and set up a system to slap asset freezes and travel restrictions on Venezuelan officials as it sought to ramp up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro.

"The game was to Venezuela defaulted. (We) will always have a clear strategy and right now that strategy is to renegotiate and refinance the foreign debt". 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. Caracas has struggled to refinance its debt because USA banks can not buy new Venezuelan bonds due to sanctions imposed by U.S.

But many say President Maduro's promise to restructure and refinance debt rings hollow at a time when USA sanctions make both options all but impossible, and that his government may be paving the way for a default despite promises to the contrary. "It will be presided by our companion Tareck El Aissami ... and the presidential commission that I have assigned to this task", he said. That figured seemed to contrast with the overwhelming response of investors contacted by Reuters, who said they were unlikely to attend.

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.

Worldwide powers accuse Maduro of stifling democracy by marginalising the opposition and gagging independent media.

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

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. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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