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Venezuela Bondholders Are Gearing Up for Battle After Futile Year

  • Long stalemate is coming to an end as patience runs out
  • Lawsuits, accelerations and seizures may be on the horizon
Members of the Bolivarian National Guard stand guard as shoppers browse goods at the Municipal Market of Quinta Crespo in Caracas, on June 20, 2018.

Members of the Bolivarian National Guard stand guard as shoppers browse goods at the Municipal Market of Quinta Crespo in Caracas, on June 20, 2018.

Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg

For the better part of the past year, Venezuela’s debt market has been dead. The bonds are in default and there are no restructuring talks, almost no trading and little action from creditors beyond grumbling in private.

But that appears about to change. In the past few weeks, one group of investors banded together to demand immediate payment on the notes they hold, another cohort hired a law firm to review their options and a separate creditor sued in U.S. federal court. Their impetus to act seems to stem from both fleeting patience and the realization that if they don’t move now, they may fall behind other creditors in the line to lay claim to Venezuelan assets.