November 22, 2017

What would you as a bare minimum call creditors knowingly financing a government that in itself constitutes a brutal violation of human rights? Odious?

Sir, John Paul Rathbone, Robin Wigglesworth and Jonathan Wheatley, with respect to the surrealistic debt-restructuring initial steps in Venezuela quote Hans Humes of Greylock Capital, who is forming an investor committee with “Ultimately, there is going to be more money made in Venezuela than even in Argentina”. But the authors also rightly conclude in “The geopolitical and humanitarian consequences are likely to be larger still”, “Caracas plays its last cards” November 22.

Sir, “Food is in short supply” does not even begin to describe the tragedy.

Look at Venezuela as a prison. The food and medicines supplies it receives should be more than enough to keep all inmates healthy, but, since the guards have stolen so much of it, many prisoners, many children among them, are dying. And, in order to be able to steal more, the guards also took on huge debts in the name of the prison. And now the original creditors, or those who bought in at a later stage, and who all had all the possibilities of knowing very well what was going on, but that turned a blind eye to it when the interest rates offered by the guards were so irresistibly juicy, they want to be repaid. Will the guards do so? Will the prisoners allow that?

I have for decades called for Venezuela’s oil revenues, lately around 97% of all Venezuela’s exports, to be shared out to all its citizens, as the only way to guard against any odious or just plain dumb exercises of centralized statist power.

So what would happen if now the Venezuelans agree, in a referendum, on doing just that and then proceed to carry out the necessary changes in its constitution; and asks the IMF or the World Bank, with the assistance of other banks, to set up an oil revenue distribution system that keeps all oil exports invoiced in the name of Venezuela’s 30 and so million citizens? I am no lawyer but would a judge in New York approve the embargo of Simoncito’s part of oil, that if received would help to feed and keep Simoncito healthy?

Desperate times calls for desperate solutions, but perhaps some desperate solutions carry the potential of turning into magical solutions. For an oil cursed nation like Venezuela, that might just be what opens up its future to a much better tomorrow.

But the rest of the world could also benefit immensely. We quite frequently hear about the need for a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism, SDRM. If such mechanism started by clearly establishing the fact that most odious debts have its origins in odious credits. There often is prohibition against usury, but even more important for all us citizens all around the world, and especially for those generations of citizens coming after us, to have some sort of mechanism that disincentive the award of odious credits to governments.

In reference to that I am begging Venezuela’s National Assembly to request that Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice in exile initiates a process destined to carefully revise the origin of all Venezuela’s credits to see if they can be deemed legitimate or not.