INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Varela asked to pressure Venezuela over debt

 The country owes Panama business owners about $1 billion.

Temas:

The continuous depreciation of the price of a barrel of Venezuelan oil, which today is worth $43.72, half of what it was a year ago, has meant that the country has been unable to pay its debts, including $1 billion owed to Panama businesses.

The largest creditor is Copa Airlines, which is owed $480 million. The rest, about $530 million, is owed to businesses in the Colón Free Zone. 

Panamanian authorities have tried to meet with their Venezuelan counterparts, but they have cancelled requests due to the grave situation that the country is experiencing. The Summit of the Americas, which will be held in Panama April 10 and 11, presents an opportunity for a meeting.

President of the Association of Users of the Free Zone, Luis Giraldo, said Panama President Juan Carlos Varela should meet with the leaders of Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia, the three countries that have the most problems with free zone businesses.

However, both Presidency and Foreign Ministry confirmed that the issue of Venezuelan debts is not slated to be discussed. The issue could be discussed during time for bilateral meetings, but Panama's agenda for these meetings is still underdetermined.

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