Venezuela: Goldman Sachs protest

Reuters

"By giving $900 million to a dictatorship, they are funding a systematic human rights violator, they are funding immorality and for Maduro to stay in power while he keeps killing people", Eduardo Lugo, 23, a Venezuelan attending college in NY and a leader of the protest, told Reuters.

And dictatorships run this badly need a lot of tear gas.

The Trump administration announced earlier this month sanctions against eight Venezuelan government officials on the nation's Supreme Court to support the Venezuelan people "in their efforts to protect and advance democratic governance". "It is detrimental to the interests of the Venezuelan people, which has been repressed for months as it demands liberty and democracy", said Eduardo Lugo, 23, a Venezuelan communications student who has been in NY for the last four years.

Maduro, the successor to late leader Hugo Chávez, says his foes are seeking a violent coup and has called for a Constitutional Assembly, which he says is the only path to peace.

Julio Borges is the Venezuelan President of the National Assembly who denounced president Maduro's ties with U.S. bankers, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman Sachs had bought $2.8 billion worth of bonds issued by the state-run PDVSA oil company.

Specifically, Goldman bought $2.8 billion in the national oil company's bonds, for 32 cents on the dollar - a transaction that will provide Maduro's government with an immediate infusion of a desperately needed $865 million. Venezuela may suffering an epochal political cataclysm, marked by daily street protests and widespread immiseration, but yields are fat and profits would be huge should opposition forces manage to oust president Nicolás Maduro and restore stability.

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

US officials also said Venezuela's government may not be able to depend much longer on deals like the one with Goldman Sachs. In its original statement, the bank said: "We recognize that the situation is complex and evolving and that Venezuela is in crisis".

Goldman Sachs did not say in its statement how much it paid for the bonds.

"Goldman Sachs' purchase of these bonds gives fuel to Maduro's dictatorship", Sebastian Coloma, an organizer with SOS Venezuela, the group behind the protests in NY, told Fox News. Borges, the opposition leader, is supposed to be the guy who will one day justify Goldman's multibillion-dollar bet on the future of Venezuela.

"Moreover, the fire sale nature of this transaction is clear evidence the Maduro regime did not have Venezuela's best interest in mind when conducting this operation", Borges wrote.

It affirmed that the government of the South American nation can not use growing aggression as a justification for denying unrestricted guarantees of the human rights of all people.

Carrying placards with various inscriptions, the protesters chanted "Prosecute Goldman Sachs" and "Shame on you Goldman Sachs".

Once South America's richest country and awash in oil, Venezuela's government under Hugo Chavez and Nicholas Maduro took less than two decades to destroy the nation's democracy and economy.

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