CARACAS – Venezuela’s leftist incumbent Nicolás Maduro said on Tuesday that bondholders have lost some $77 billion as issuers have stopped earning $127 billion due to the direct effects of the harsh sanctions imposed by Washington, making the nation’s oil revenues plummet for a loss of $102.5 billion between 2014 and 2019.
Maduro also ratified a proposal to negotiate directly with the bondholders in order to resolve the defaulted debt issue by negotiation.
In the annual State of the Nation address known as “Memoria y Cuenta” in front of Venezuela's Parliament (aka National Assembly or AN), the socialist leader pointed out that oil production dropped 69% in the last five years with a linear reduction of 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) on average.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the country has more than $43 billion in frozen assets – referring to them as “stolen” – abroad, including $1.2 billion worth of gold blocked by the Bank of England.
Maduro proposed a plan to the now chavista-controlled AN concerning the recovery of these foreign assets including Citgo, the US-based refining arm of state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and Monómeros, a Colombian fertilizers firm owned by petrochemicals company Pequiven.
“If we recover these assets, Venezuela would register an immediate and miraculous recovery. We would have the capacity to produce 2.5 million bpd,” he said.
With regard to the sanctions, or “coercive and illegal measures” as he likes to call them, Maduro said that Venezuela has paid $109.6 billion in external debt during the five-year period prior to the sanctions, because the country “was always willing to honor its obligations.”