Varela contemplating Venzuela trip to discuss debt

It would be the second trip to that country by a president to discuss the issue in less than two years.


President Juan Carlos Varela is studying the possibility of traveling to Venezuela in the coming months to look for a solution to expedite debt payments that are owed to businesses in the Colón Free Zone and to Copa Airlines.

That was confirmed by Minister of Trade and Industry Melitón Arrocha. Businesses in the Colón Free Zone are owed about $1 billion whole Copa is owed $500 million.

At the end of November, a delegation led by Arrocha traveled to Caracas to meet with Venezuelan authorities, including Minister of Economy Rodolfo Marco Torres. At that meeting it was decided to handle the two debts as separate issues.

If Varela visits, it would be the second time in less than two years that a president has traveled to that country to resolve this issue, as former President Ricardo Martinelli went there in July 2013.

Following that visit, a bilateral commission was established to verify the amounts owed and to establish a procedure for payments to be made. It is not clear if the commission has had any impact on the situation, which has grown even more unstable due to falling oil prices, which has damaged Venzuela's primary revenue stream.



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