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On eve of talks, Venezuela's Maduro dismisses default

15 Noviembre 2017

It's nearly 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.

On the eve of the meeting Maduro tried to send a reassuring message that Venezuela will avoid default despite its mounting financial woes.

He specified that the irregularities had been detected during inspections by attorneys of the Attorney General's Office (MP), supported by the board of directors of the military counter-intelligence department (Digecim) and President Nicolas Maduro, in the states of Anzoategui, Monagas, Caracas, Falcon and the Oriente area. The EU said it would not recognise Venezuela's Constituent Assembly, the body set up to replace the opposition-dominated congress and which is packed with Maduro loyalists, saying its creation had "further eroded the democratic and independent institutions". "(We) will always have a clear strategy and right now that strategy is to renegotiate and refinance the foreign debt".

Venezuela started meeting a host of its creditors in Caracas to discuss government proposals to restructure at least 60 billion dollars of junk bonds in a bid to ease the country's massive debt burden. "Tomorrow we begin the first round of renegotiation and refinancing of Venezuela's debt".

The hastily convened meeting comes on the government's deadline to pay almost $300 million of late interest payments, or risk putting the state-oil company, the lifeblood of its economy, in default. Maduro's vow to restructure and refinance in such an environment has left investors wondering if he is in fact preparing the groundwork for default. Investors want to know whether a late $1.1 billion debt payment on state-run oil giant PDVSA bonds this month constituted a "credit event" that could trigger the payment of so-called credit default swaps and prompt legal action by bondholders.

Amid all the international pressure, thousands of Venezuelans have fled to neighboring countries and more than 120 people have been killed in anti-government protests so far this year.

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

Spain has long pushed for sanctions on those close to Maduro, but the EU has been divided over whom to target.

A spokesperson for the country's information ministry didn't respond to a request for comment.

On eve of talks, Venezuela's Maduro dismisses default