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External Debt of 1881
Bols. 12,157,155.01 1,382,959.21
Venezuelan Loan of 1896 48,811,640.00* 12,741,812.00
INTERNAL LOANS. National Consolidated Six per Cent.... Carácas Waterworks Balances of old Loans convertible into Consolidated Six per Cent.
Total Internal Loans
31st Dec., 1903. 31st Dec., 1903.
Total External Loans 125,363,494.86 26,281,926.22 151,645,421.08
70,130,422.04 22,852,666.63 92,983,088.67
125,363,494.86 26,281,926.22 151,645,421.08 70,130,422.04 22,852,666.63 92,983,088.67
195,493,916.90 49,134,592.85 244,628,509.75
* The difference between the amount given in the Table on page 431 of the Council's last eport (Bols. 46,215,000) and that shown here is due to the fact that in the former Bonds rawn for redemption but not repaid were included under the head of Arrears of Service.
Bols. 78,771,705.01 11,320,264.07 61,553,452.00
19,371,478.00 79,180,794.12 3,459,585.10 13,634,784.54
Apart from the fact that all the Loans remained in total default throughout the year 1903, the above Table calls for but one remark. On comparing the amount shown here as representing the capital of the Diplomatic Debt with the amount outstanding on 31st December, 1902, it will be seen that a considerable increase has taken place. The Minister's Report showed that this was mainly due to the issue of Bonds of the Diplomatic Debt to the following amounts, viz., Bols. 1,000,000 to the French Legation in April, 1903; of Bols. 1,437,051.21 in virtue of the
Protocol with France, signed in February, 1902, and of Bols. 1,000,000.00 in respect of a Dutch Claim.
Until all the Foreign Claims have been definitively adjudicated any estimate of the total liabilities of Venezuela can only be approximate. It may be pointed out, however, that exclusive of these claims, and as far as can be gathered from the Finance Minister's Report, the figures would appear to have been as follows on the 31st December, 1903
LIQUOR AND TOBACCO MONOPOLY.
On the 5th May, 1904, a Law was promulgated providing for the creation of a Liquor and Tobacco Monopoly, and stipulating that the net receipts to be derived from this source should be assigned to Public Credit and to the States and Federal District of the Republic in the respective proportions of 65 and 35 per cent.
The following information is taken from Mr. ActingConsul Andral's Annual Report regarding the trade conditions in Venezuela in 1903, and from the reports concerning the Consular Districts of Puerto Cabello, Maracaibo, and La Guayra, which are annexed thereto.
With regard to the general situation Mr. Andral made the following remarks:
Immediately after the settlement of the international troubles which for a period of two months had caused a complete suspension of the commercial life of Venezuela, business was resumed with extraordinary activity. The month of January had been entirely lost as well as half of February, but the day following the opening of the ports saw a revival of trade.
Naturally, after this forced repose, work was resumed with redoubled energy, and, as seen from the La Guayra report, in the latter half of February and the month of March the exports reached figures which have only been equalled by two other months in the year.
Imports were also higher than in the corresponding months of the previous year, and continued so all the year through, improving as the months went by.
Mr. Andral, however, also observes that there can be no serious or lasting growth of trade until an increase takes place in the population, which has declined owing to the civil strife of the last five years.
During the first two months of 1903 the foreign trade of Puerto Cabello had been paralysed by the blockade, and subsequently it had suffered from a fall in the value of coffee. Towards the end of the year, however, the market price of coffee had improved considerably, with the result that business had revived. The value of Imports in
903, at Puerto Cabello, amounted to £368,653, and that of Exports to £601,727, the latter amount including £318,242 on account of Coffee. The exports of coffee reached a total of 13,619 tons, of which a large proportion represented the crop of the previous year, which it had then been impossible to send out of the country. The number of cattle exported was 61,681, representing a value of £175,584.
The trade movement in 1903 showed a fair improvement as compared with the years 1901 and 1902, and had been greatly favoured by a Decree of the Venezuelan Government re-establishing free traffic on the Zulia River, whereby the exportation, via Maracaibo, of a large amount of Colombian coffee was rendered possible. The exports from Maracaibo consist almost exclusively of coffee, and the amount exported in 1903 was 24,828 tons, valued at £612,729.
The situation at La Guayra showed an improvement as compared with 1902, and after the raising of the blockade a brisk movement had taken place in the Import and Export trades, which later in the year also benefited from the closing of several other Venezuelan ports to foreign trade. The development at La Guayra had taken place in spite of the imposition of heavy "war taxes" war taxes" on both Imports and Exports. As regards the former, the Customs Duties had been increased by 30 per cent., and this addition produced an average sum of £12,369 per month, whilst the return from the surcharges on Export Duties averaged £4,502 per month. Exclusive of goods in transit for Ciudad Bolivar the weight of Imports at La Guayra in 1903 was 41,489 metric tons, showing an increase of about 15 per cent. as compared with 1902, and that of Exports 16,632 metric tons.