Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Goldman Vilified by Venezuelan Opposition Over Alleged Bond Deal

A sign is displayed in the reception of the Sydney offices of Goldman Sachs in Australia A sign is displayed in the reception of the Sydney offices of Goldman Sachs in Australia
Christy Curtis | 05 June, 2017, 07:25

A small group of protesters outside Goldman's NY headquarters held signs saying "Goldman Sachs Sucks!" and "Don't Support Venezuela's Hunger Bonds".

It argued that the opposition violence was part of the plan of the "international right wing, with the complicity of the most powerful governments of the world, with the sole goal of taking control over Venezuela's energy resources".

Staying on top of Venezuela's debt will nearly certainly be the ruling party's priority, she said, though the influx of hard currency into the central bank could also fund imports and ease pressure on the state oil company, which has struggled to maintain production.

The leader of Venezuela's National Assembly has said the country might refuse to repay $2.8 billion for bonds that Goldman Sachs recently bought from the country's central bank.

Goldman Sachs's asset-management division paid about $865 million for the bonds, about 31 cents on the dollar.

"You know when a company like Goldman Sachs provides money, it's not going to be for that, it's going to be to buy bullets, to buy tear gas and to keep killing people", says Beke, wiping away tears.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc has bought $2.8 billion worth of bonds issued by PDVSA.

Even though critics have described the constituent assembly as an attempt by the president to confuse voters expectant of regional elections, as well as override the opposition-led National Assembly, Maduro still has substantial support.

Julio Borges, the opposition lawmaker who heads the National Assembly, wrote a letter of protest to Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman, accusing the Wall Street firm of looking to make a "quick buck off the suffering of the Venezuelan people". Yes, Maduro's government is one of the worst ones now infecting the planet, but there are many, many countries with human rights records which range from spotty to absolutely abysmal and American firms invest in them all the time.

Venezuelan political leaders were also furious with Goldman's purchase.

Since April 1, Venezuela has been beset by near daily protests and violent clashes with government forces that have left 59 dead.

Late on Monday, the bank confirmed the deal - if not the details.

Once Latin America's wealthiest nation, the oil-rich country's fortunes plummeted with a 2014 downturn in global crude prices and with government mismanagement. The country has reduced imports by about 70 percent in the past three years, making it hard for millions of ordinary Venezuelans to find food and medicines.

In a statement, the bank acknowledged it purchased the bonds, but said they were purchased through the secondary market and not directly from the Venezuelan government.

The Organization of American States (OAS) halted indefinitely Venezuela crisis talks on Wednesday after failing to agree a way forward, the Guatemalan foreign minister said.

It said it "affirms that conflict resolution mechanisms will require all parties to fundamentally rethink the view they have of themselves and the other, in order to transform the now polarized debate into one about the people's common interests and objectives".

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