ASUNCION, Paraguay (Reuters) – Paraguay’s state-run oil firm Petropar said yesterday that Vene-zuelan state oil producer PDVSA had set a 10-day deadline for the Paragua-yan company to pay off $287 million of long-standing debt.
The demand comes shortly after Paraguay asked last week to convene a meeting of foreign ministers in the South American Mercosur trade group to examine if Venezuela had failed to comply with democratic norms laid out in the organization’s charter.
Petropar president Eddie Jara told local media that he received a letter from PDVSA demanding the entire debt payment “in impulsive and unfriendly terms.”
He added that Paraguay was willing to pay the debt eventually, but that its budget did not allow it to comply with Venezuela’s demand.
This week the head of the Organization of Ameri-can States, an inter-continental diplomatic bloc, called for an urgent meeting to discuss whether Venezuela is violating democratic principles.
The OPEC nation of about 30 million people is reeling from food shortages, the world’s highest inflation, long lines for basic goods, and alarming violent crime, among other woes.