Dominican Republic retires $4 billion in oil debt to Venezuela with negotiated payment

The Dominican Republic says it has retired most of its oil debt to Venezuela.

Treasury Minister Simon Lizardo says Venezuela agreed in a negotiated settlement to dismiss $4 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $2 billion. He says the Dominican Republic was able to make the payment thanks to a recent $2.5 billion bond sale.

The Dominican Republic still owes $97 million to Venezuela.

Lizardo spoke to reporters Thursday upon his return from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States meeting in Costa Rica.

The Dominican Republic accumulated much of the debt through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms. Doubts about the program's future have grown as oil-dependent Venezuela struggles because of falling oil prices.