Venezuela economy crisis Federico Parra/Getty Images

Rankings de odiosidad para la deuda pública

CAMBRIDGE – El viernes 25 de agosto, el gobierno de Estados Unidos impuso sanciones financieras a Venezuela, que limitan la posibilidad de que el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro y su petrolera nacional, PDVSA, emitan nueva deuda en los mercados de capital estadounidenses. Las sanciones se impusieron en respuesta a la elección inconstitucional y fraudulenta, organizada por el gobierno, de una asamblea constituyente, y al cierre de facto de la Asamblea Nacional, que había sido elegida de manera constitucional con amplia mayoría opositora.

Si los mercados financieros funcionasen bien, hace mucho tiempo que el acceso a los mercados financieros por parte del régimen de Maduro se habría cerrado. El hecho de que esto no haya ocurrido, no solo ha golpeado los sentimientos morales de muchos, sino que también ha revelado la existencia de un defecto fundamental en la arquitectura institucional de los mercados de deuda soberana. Pocas cosas buenas saldrán de la catástrofe económica de Venezuela, sin embargo, una consecuencia positiva podría ser una reforma que ponga a dichos mercados en un pie financiero –y moral– más sólido.

Toda deuda entraña el compromiso por parte del prestatario de repagar lo que ha recibido, con interés. En el caso de deuda pública, el principio de pacta sunt servanda implica que los gobiernos futuros tienen la obligación de respetar los compromisos adquiridos por sus antecesores. No obstante, como en 1927 lo sostuvo Alexander Sack, este no debería ser siempre el caso para los gobiernos posteriores: "Cuando un régimen despótico contrae una deuda, no en pos de las necesidades o de los intereses del Estado, sino para fortalecerse a sí mismo, reprimir una insurrección popular, etc., esta deuda es odiosa para la ciudadanía de todo el Estado".

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