Goldman confirms buying Venezuela bonds after opposition cries foul

Posted June 06, 2017

Another protest was planned for Miami, home to a large community of Venezuelans who have fled the country's economy crisis, on Thursday. The deal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, made Goldman complicit in alleged human rights abuses under the government, they said.

In a scathing letter to Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Julio Borges called the deal an "outrage" that provides a "lifeline to [an] authoritarian regime that is systematically violating the human rights of Venezuelans".

Nomura Securities said it also bought about $100m worth of the bonds last week, according to Reuters reports.

The comments mark one of the most aggressive critiques of the government of Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro to date from Videgaray, the former finance minister and close confidant of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Guatemala's Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales, who chaired the meeting, said no consensus had been reach on how to address the turmoil in Venezuela, which has taken more than 60 lives since early April.

"The bondholders know that they're being paid at the expense of the country's hunger", Jorge Botti, a Venezuelan businessman, told Bloomberg.

But the protesters say any support for the government supports repression.

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Bonds issued by Venezuela's national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, or Pdvsa, "have attracted some of world's most sophisticated investors", the New York Times explained.

Venezuela's opposition-controlled legislature voted later in the day to ask the U.S. Congress to investigate the sale.

“We recognize that the situation is complex and evolving and that Venezuela is in crisis, ” Goldman Sachs said in the statement.

At least 62 people have been killed in the two month-long confrontation and another 1,100 people have been injured.

On May 29, Goldman Sachs issued a statement regarding the purchase.

Maduro has said the protests are a violent effort to overthrow his government, and insists that the country is the victim of an "economic war" supported by Washington.

The letter added the National Assembly would be opening an investigation into the transaction, and any future democratic government of Venezuela will refuse to recognise or pay the bonds.

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

Members of the opposition party have threatened not to honor the bonds or do business with Goldman Sachs if they do come into power.

But he clarified that "this does not mean that the OAS must solve the problem, because in the end the solution will inevitably depend on the Venezuelans and in particular Maduro's government should bear the responsibility".

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".

Venezuelan opposition accuses the government of mismanaging the oil-rich country, causing severe shortages of basic consumer goods.

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