November 08, 2017

Could investors in Venezuelan liabilities have thought its government was up to something good? No! So don’t pay them

Sir, Robin Wigglesworth writes: “S&P last week downgraded Venezuela’s rating to the second-lowest rung possible without actually being in default, arguing there is an even chance of a full default within the next three months… Can Venezuela extricate itself from this mess? “Investors left guessing over Venezuela’s liabilities” November 8

Sir, if somebody financed a bank heist should those creditors get their money back if the heist was unsuccessful?

This is not just about Venezuela. It behooves all citizens everywhere to make sure that if creditors finance something they know is bad for the people of its country, only to obtain high risk premiums, they should not be able to expect the people of that country to sacrifice themselves in order to repay that debt.

Or in even clearer terms, should the freed prisoners of a concentration camp be expected to repay those who financed the building of it? 

Sir, we often hear the term “odious debt”. It is high time we concentrate in defining what should be considered as odious credits… because that is where it all starts. 

PS. There could also be reasons to think of “odious regulations”. If European bank regulators had not risk-weighted the capital requirements for banks when lending to Greece at 0%, then Greece would have saved itself much suffering.