Russia Says It Will Ease Debt Burden on Venezuela

The New York TimesWith Venezuela on the edge of default, Russia has thrown it a life preserver.

The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, announced on Wednesday that the two countries had agreed to the restructuring of roughly $3 billion in Kremlin loans.

The amount is tiny compared with Venezuela’s crushing $120 billion debt, but it may help President Nicolás Maduro’s government make hundreds of millions of dollars in payments over the next few weeks to other creditors and help reassure bondholders that a default is not imminent.

It has been a scramble for Venezuela to make a $1.2 billion payment on a national oil company bond due last Friday, mostly principal, which had no grace period. Early Wednesday, investors and financial analysts were beginning to fear that Venezuela would not come up with the money it had promised to pay. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.