nsucurrent.com April 26, 2018

Venezuela Slams Trump For Banning Transactions In Its Cryptocurrency

22 March 2018, 01:45 | Colleen Roy

Opposition candidate Henri Falcon has been pressured by US civil servants not to run in the elections

Opposition candidate Henri Falcon has been pressured by US civil servants not to run in the elections

Maduro had announced late a year ago that he was creating the digital currency to outmaneuver USA sanctions preventing Venezuela from issuing new debt.

Citing sources familiar with the creation of petro, Time reports that senior advisers from the Kremlin, with approval from President Vladimir Putin, helped to oversee the development of the cryptocurrency.

Petro, which launched on February 20, is accepted as legal tender in Venezuela. Its value is tied to the country's oil reserves.

The Trump administration has alleged that the petro is merely an "attempt to circumvent USA sanctions".

According to the report, Russian billionaires Dennis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky advised Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in his efforts to create petro, the first state-backed cryptocurrency in the market created with hopes of strengthening Venezuela's financial market.

Undermining U.S. sanctions is reportedly what piqued Russia's interest in the project.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who has repeatedly called for action against the petro, said he welcomed the new sanctions, but added that the "international community must continue coordinated efforts to increase pressure on the Maduro regime". President Maduro thanked the two men personally for helping fight against American "imperialism".

"So Russia made its stronghold here in Venezuela", Armando Armas, an opposition member of Venezuela's parliament, the National Assembly told Time.

The government has promised that Venezuelans will be able to use the $60 coins to pay taxes and for public services. Andrei Kostin, the head of the second-largest state-controlled bank in Russian Federation, said in a speech last month that "the reign of the dollar must end".

Earlier this week, the Trump administration issued an executive order prohibiting United States citizens from purchasing the petro, which Maduro hopes will raise $6 billion and help shore up the country's failing economy.

The USAID announcement follows a visit by the former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to Colombia, where he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss Plan Colombia and the crisis in Venezuelan. The move was "in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent USA sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela's democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful", the White House said.

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