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Venezuelan anti-government protesters in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Cris Faga/NurPhoto via Getty Images

International ratings agency Fitch warned Wednesday that Venezuela's ongoing political and diplomatic crisis raises the risks of increased near-term economic pain as well as further oil market disruptions.

One big quote, per Fitch: "In the short term, new U.S. sanctions imposed on state-owned oil company PDVSA will deepen the country's economic crisis. Oil production will likely fall further and more quickly affecting economic output, exports and government revenues."

Driving the news: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Wednesday that Venezuela's newly declared Interim President Juan Guaidó will name a new board for U.S.-based oil company Citgo, which is owned by PDVSA. Citgo is weighing the possibility of bankruptcy and other contingency plans.

  • Nicolás Maduro has steadfastly held that he is the rightful president of Venezuela and shows no signs of conceding to demands from the U.S.
  • If Maduro is able to retain power, Fitch warns, "the prospects of reforms to stabilize the economy and end hyperinflation are likely to be diminished, at least in the near term."
  • "The military's position will be key to the country's political future and there is the potential for a protracted stalemate."
  • "Even in the case of a political transition, a debt restructuring is likely to be a lengthy process. A political transition will be complex and likely culminate in elections."

What's next? Guaidó's economic plan includes seeking financial aid from multilateral organizations, bilateral loans, restructuring Venezuela's debt and bringing private investment back into the country's oil sector. He has also called for eliminating currency controls and privatizing state assets.

  • "PDVSA would need to be restructured from the ground up and incentives put in place for private investment," Fitch continued. "Institutional capacity, rule of law and political stability will be key after years of weakening government institutions."

On the bright side: "Should a successful political transition combined with economic stabilization reforms be implemented," Fitch analysts said, "Venezuela would have significant potential."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.