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Maduro ordered PDVSA to use cryptocurrencies

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

More big parties join Venezuela ballot boycott


Venezuelan's major opposition groups edged closer Tuesday to an all-out boycott of an upcoming presidential election, warning the vote won't be free or fair. In a further potential blow to the opposition, a senior official in the ruling socialist party proposed early elections for Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress as well, cutting its term short by more than a year. Opposition lawmaker Edgar Zambrano told The Associated Press that his Democratic Action party and two other movements made the decision to boycott. That brings to four major opposition parties have decided they won't put a candidate up against President Nicolas Maduro. More…

Venezuela Launches Virtual Currency, Hoping to Resuscitate Economy


With Venezuela suffering one of the most severe economic collapses of modern times, the beleaguered administration of President Nicolás Maduro announced on Tuesday that it had begun a presale of virtual currency backed by the nation’s vast petroleum reserves. The government, which had announced plans for the new digital currency late last year, said the initiative was a response to a financial crisis marked by a profound devaluation of the national currency, the bolívar, and quadruple-digit inflation. The country is suffering desperate scarcities of food and medicine, soaring crime rates and the collapse of public services and the health system. The crisis has driven hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to flee the country seeking a better life. More…

Venezuela's Deepening Crisis Triggers Mass Migration Into Colombia


Venezuela's downward economic spiral has led to widespread food shortages, hyperinflation and now mass migration. Many Venezuelans are opting for the easiest escape route — by crossing the land border into Colombia. There were more than half a million Venezuelans in Colombia as of December, according to the Colombian immigration department, and many came over in the last two years. Their exodus rivals the number of Syrians in Germany or Rohingya in Bangladesh. Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm, calls it the world's "least-talked-about" immigration crisis. More…

Why is Venezuela’s criticism so muted


The Times’ Nicholas Casey has for years provided an unforgettable chronicle of human tragedy in the form of Venezuelan parents burying their starving children, of hospital patients dying for lack of basics such as antibiotics or oxygen tanks, of yet another generation of boat people risking their lives on the high seas to flee their socialist paradise. Nearly 3 million Venezuelans — one-tenth of the total population — have now fled the country, according to The Wall Street Journal, creating a refugee crisis comparable to that of the Rohingya in Myanmar. So why the relative silence? Part of the reason is that campus activism is a left-wing phenomenon, making it awkward to target left-wing villains. A larger reason is that, until a few years ago, the Venezuelan regime was a cause of the left, cheered by people like Naomi Klein, Sean Penn and Danny Glover. More…

Watchdog probes Swiss banks over links to Venezuela graft case


Swiss financial watchdog FINMA said on Wednesday it is investigating several Swiss banks over whether they followed anti-money laundering rules amid a widening $1 billion graft probe involving Venezuela’s state oil company. A U.S. federal indictment this month accused five former Venezuelan officials of soliciting bribes to help vendors win favorable treatment from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and stashing the money in banks, including in Switzerland. More…