Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA said Friday it has started to repay $233 million in interest on two bonds nearing default, days before the end of the 30-day grace period.
Writing on Twitter, the company announced "the transfer process was started to pay the interest on the PDVSA 8,5% 2020 Bonds and the PDVSA 6% 2022 Bonds."
The company also called on creditors to "trust" its "logistical, productive and financial capacity" -- adding it had "fulfilled all of its commitments, even with the offensive sabotage of imperialism and its national lackeys," referencing American sanctions.
US banned its institutions in August from buying any new Venezuelan bonds, making it difficult to refinance existing debt through new bonds.
"We confirm the solvency and soundness of our oil industry, in a fight against illegal sanctions," the company stated.
The White House said in previous statements that the aim of the sanctions is "to deprive the dictatorial regime led by Maduro to obtain a basic source of income for his illegal stay in power."
PVDSA's bonds represent 30 percent of Venezuela's external debt -- estimated to be around $150 billion, while the people suffer from a severe shortage of food and medicine because of the lack of funds to import them.
Reuters reported that the Venezuelan debt crisis came as former president Hugo Chavez spent generously on social welfare programs while borrowing profusely.