Venezuela Opposition Condemns Goldman Sachs Debt Deal

Protesters have flooded the streets of Venezuela for months - including on Wednesday - demanding new elections and faulting Maduro's leadership for the country's triple-digit inflation, surging crime rates, and dire shortages of food and medicine. (Right) A tear runs down the cheek of a woman marching in protest of a decade-old decision not to renew the broadcast license for Radio Caracas Television.

The failure came despite the urgent pleas from some nations represented at the extraordinary meeting in Washington, where foreign ministers broadly shared one hope: that Venezuela, which has vowed to leave the regional group in protest of its potential intervention, would reconsider. The move meant to eliminate a thorn in the side of embattled President Nicolas Maduro was reversed after three days - but its political fallout has now barreled into its third month roiling city streets across the country.

Demonstrators with shields prepare to clash with security forces during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

Maduro, 54, says his opponents are seeking overthrow him with USA support, similar to a short-lived 2002 coup against his popular predecessor Hugo Chavez.

Last week Goldman Sachs bought around $2.8 billion worth of bonds issued by Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA, betting its investment could more than double if the opposition comes into power, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Over the weekend, a report in the Wall Street Journal said that Goldman has paid 31 cents on the USA dollar for the bonds issued by PDVSA the state owned oil company that mature during 2022 or approximately $865 million while citing five people that were familiar with the bonds' transaction.

In Venezuela, Maduro's critics have for two months staged street protests, which have left almost 60 people dead, to demand he hold early elections.

"Goldman Sachs' financial lifeline to the regime", Borges wrote in a letter to Lloyd Blankfein, "will serve to strengthen the brutal repression unleashed against the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans peacefully protesting for political change in the country".

Venezuela's opposition is refusing to participate, saying the vote set for July is a sham, with biased rules to ensure the body is filled with Maduro supporters.

Goldman said its asset-management arm acquired the bonds "on the secondary market from a broker and did not interact with the Venezuelan government".

Goldman paid 31 cents on the dollar for the bonds, which mature in October 2022, Borges' letter says.

Waving Venezuelan flags, a small group of protesters outside the U.S. banking giant's headquarters in Manhattan shouted "Goldman Sachs Sucks!" The bonds were bought through three finance sources in Europe and not directly from the country's central bank. It has given oxygen to the Maduro regime.

Canada, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States put forward a declaration calling for an immediate end to the violence, for political prisoners to be freed and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Protesters carried signs that read "Goldman Sachs supports Maduro's dictatorship".

PDVSA is a state-operated oil company in Venezuela.

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  • Leroy Wright