Venezuela's foreign debt last year rose to just around $42.53 billion. To help reduce this, the Banking and Finance Ministry recently announced that Venezuela has paid $1.54 billion in principal and interest owed to international bondholders.
The Maduro government has repeatedly denied that the economically depraved country has been on course for a default. The drop in the price of oil has severely affected Venezuela, as their main source of foreign exchange has significantly been depleted.
This lack of foreign exchange earning that has hit that country's economy has been manifesting in the shops, as certain basic items have become inaccessible to the general population. One such item is bread, as there is a shortage of flour.
Signs saying "no bread" have become a regular sight at Venezuelan bakeries. According to reports, the few bakeries that can still get a hold flour limit purchases to just two "canillas" -- thin half-baguettes -- per person three times a day.
It is further being reported that the bakeries prefer to make higher margin items such as cachitos (bread filled with ham and cheese) and pizzas.
The harsh economic times also led to the closure of five of Venezuela's 12 wheat mills, that employ around 12,000 people. The other remaining mills employ around 8,000 people.
The government recently issued a statement in response stating that 170,000 tons of wheat would arrive in March. This will be enough to cover demand for one month.