Venezuelan Opposition Threatens Goldman Sachs over $2.8bn Bond Deal

Tuesday, 06 Jun, 2017

Venezuelan authorities have linked 59 deaths to the recent wave of anti-Maduro protests.

"Given the unconstitutional nature of Nicolas Maduro's administration, its unwillingness to hold democratic elections and its systematic violation of human rights, I am dismayed that Goldman Sachs made a decision to enter this transaction with the Maduro regime", Borges wrote in a letter earlier this week. Accordingly, opposition leaders have labeled government debt "hunger bonds" and penned letters to global bank heads indicating that should they buy the bonds they ought to expect, well, more angry letters. We made the investment in part because we believe it will.”.

One elderly woman who was tear gassed said, "I am sick, I have been searching for the medicine that I can't find, but the police are upset because people want to gather on a street corner to protest". "The OAS cannot continue to be used by a country for a political lynching against the government of Venezuela, it is regrettable that a group of brother countries has been biased in their appraisals and focus", said Nicaraguan Ambassador Luis Ezequiel Alvarado.

“It's very serious that money is given to a corrupt, repressive dictatorship and an worldwide bank gets off unscathed, ” lawmaker Carlos Valero, a member of the Venezuelan congress's finance commission, said as the bill was passed.

"We are invested in PDVSA bonds because, like many in the asset management industry, we believe the situation in the country must improve over time", the bank said.

On Tuesday, Reuters reports, the National Assembly voted to request that the USA investigate the deal, and protesters gathered outside Goldman's headquarters in New York City.

The Mexican foreign minister said "the situation in Venezuela is extremely serious" and explained that he would expect the "international community to show interest".

Venezuela has been rocked over the last two months by widespread protests against Maduro's government that have left at least 60 people dead. It got $3 billion-worth of bonds for about a third of the price.

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Julio Borges, president of the opposition-led Congress, said Goldman Sachs is propping up a dictatorship and argued that the bond purchase violated the bank's own code of conduct.

Amid a spiralling economy and political turmoil, Venezuela's bonds might appear unattractive.

"It is apparent Goldman Sachs chose to make a quick buck off the suffering of the Venezuelan people", he said.

Venezuela's opposition, which has been urging Wall Street banks not to throw a financial lifeline to Maduro, alleges that the purchase represents an infusion of cash to the government.

Last month, lawmakers reached out to big Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs, asking them not to help the country monetize its $7.7 billion in gold reserves.

The new assembly has galvanized Maduro's core support in rural Venezuela and among the poor.

The Organization of American States is gathering foreign ministers from Western hemisphere countries to "establish a mandate for new diplomatic engagement", according to a senior U.S. State Department official.

The ministers said they would reconvene about Venezuela before the June 19-21 General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico.