U.S. President Donald Trump has announced fresh sanctions against Venezuela’s fledgling Petro cryptocurrency, which was launched specifically to help stabilize the Latin American nation’s economy.
The blockade, due to be signed and implemented today, restricts the use of Petros in U.S. financial transactions, McClatchy reports.
Trump and other critics have claimed the Petro, backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves – the largest in the world – is unreliable. Yet in presales alone, Venezuela has already made over US$5 billion dollars.
The Petro, which was made available for presale on Feb. 20, is being used specifically to counter U.S.-imposed sanctions and the economic war waged by Washington.
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Last month, President Nicolas Maduro said the new digital currency exists to strengthen Venezuela’s «monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.» Other countries subject to U.S. sanctions are now considering launching their own crypto-currencies.
Venezuela has yet to officially respond to news of the latest round of penalties imposed upon it by the United States, believed to be part of a larger set which will once again target Venezuelan officials and other government associates.
Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly member, Diosdado Cabello, however, rejected the sanctions, explaining that «the enormous difference is that the Petro has a tangible backup, oil. No one can negate Venezuela’s oil reserves».
Opposition leader Antonio Ledezma called for such sanctions recently in an open letter to Argentinian President Macri, Peruvian President Kuczynski, and Chilean President Piñera. In the letter, Ledezma, who is fleeing the Venezuelan justice system, «respectfully requests that the Latin-American governments implement sanctions» against his own country.
Top Photo | Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (C), Vice President Tareck El Aissami (L) and the Minister for University Education, Science and Technology Hugbel Roa (Marco Bello/Reuters)