“Maduro can’t restructure the debt because nobody in the world trusts his government,” said Julio Borges, the head of the National Assembly.
However (emphasis added),
“Russia and China have incentives to provide financing just for oil investment, so that they are able to get the oil repayments,” Monaldi said in an email. “If Venezuela was able to successfully restructure the debt with bond holders that would make it more attractive for Russia and China to help, but giving them more money just to pay bond holders is unlikely to happen.”
The WSJ on the benefits of being a deadbeat:
Venezuela Debt Crisis May Offer Political Upside for Maduro. Stopping payments on debt threatens economy but could increase funds earmarked for needed imports (emphasis added)
Mr. Maduro announced plans on Friday to convene bondholders in Caracas on Nov. 13 to negotiate a debt restructuring on the country’s foreign debt, estimated at between $100 billion and $150 billion. However, investors said that U.S. sanctions that restrict financial institutions from investing in new debt instruments issued by Venezuela’s authoritarian government make a deal unlikely, triggering a messy and prolonged default.
By stopping payments on the debt, Mr. Maduro could double the funds he has earmarked for imports next year by holding back on some $1.7 billion in bond interest payments due in the remainder of 2017 and about $9 billion in 2018, according to Eurasia Group, offering relief—albeit brief—for a fast collapsing economy plagued by galloping inflation and chronic food shortages.
Why next year? Because of presidential elections. Even with rampant vote rigging, there’s still a facade to be kept.