Venezuelan international reserves end last February 6 at
USD 32 billion, according to the figures disclosed by the
Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV).
In January 31-February 6, the BCV assets dropped USD 884 million.
Last Friday, Planning Minister Haiman El Troudi said this week the central bank was scheduled to transfer USD 800 million from the reserves to the National Development Fund (Fonden).
The official said that early in March the BCV would transfer other USD 700 million to the Fonden. Based on El Troudi's statements, the BCV is to deposit USD 1.5 billion in the Fonden. This year, such transfer would be lower than in previous years, as the so-called "optimal level" of Venezuelan reserves was set at USD 31.9 billion.
Since the BCV law was reformed in 2005, the central bank has an obligation to transfer excess reserves to the Fonden. In 2005, it delivered USD 6 billion to the special fund, with transfers in 2006 and 2007 amounting to USD 4.27 billion and USD 6.77 billion, respectively.
In two years, BCV transferred USD 17.94 billion to the Fonden, thus exceeding the Venezuelan oil giant Pdvsa's contribution to the fund at USD 13.15 billion.
LOPEZ CASE HRW endorsed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' call on Venezuela to release Leopoldo López.
LOPEZ CASE Without giving many details, Venezuelan Congress' Speaker Diosdado Cabello has claimed he saved opposition leader Leopoldo López's life, adding that there were no negotiations whatsoever days before the dissenter turned himself in to the Bolivarian National Guard earlier this year. "He (López) knew it (information about his possible assassination), too. Why did he turn himself in? He and his family were aware of that," said the legislator in an interview with daily newspaper El Universal.
HUMAN RIGHTS The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, expressed serious concern on Monday at the continued detention of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, as well as more than 69 other people who were arrested in the context of public protests that took place across Venezuela over several months starting in February this year.