Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s president, announced on Sunday the creation of a crypto-currency, named “El Petro”, to make financial transactions abroad and combat the so-called “Financial Blockade” against the up-to-now vulnerable South American country.
The president has indicated that the new digital currency will be backed up by Venezuela‘s oil, minerals, and diamond reserves. “It is going to be called ‘The Petro’. This will allow us to move towards new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of the country”, he said during his Sunday television and radio program.
Manuel Quevedo, the new president of the State oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Petroleum Minister has been commissioned to coordinate the team that will create the cryptocurrency in Venezuela. In addition, Maduro ordered the creation of the Block Chain Observatory in the country as an “institutional, political and legal base” that will contribute to the launch of ‘El Petro’.
The Head of State has attributed the deepening of the Venezuelan crisis to the financial sanctions imposed by the governments of the United States and Canada against high hierarchies of the “Chavismo”. (It is) an “Economic War” of businessmen and opponents and former managers of PDVSA, who have recently been accused of corruption. 3 weeks ago the company was declared in suspension of payments (default) by the agencies Fitch and Moody’s. Meanwhile, the Petroleum production has fallen to levels (only before) registered right at the end of the 1980s.
The control of the energy industry, which is going through a deep systemic crisis, has been passed on to the military loyal to the regime after the arrests, a few days ago, of (several) former PDVSA managers. Among them are the ex-presidents and ex-Petroleum ministers Eulogio del Pino and Nelson Martínez, as well as other high ranking employees of Citgo, the subsidiary of the state Petroleum company in the United States of America. “There are notorious criminals who end up under the protection of the United States government. And yet they say they are Chavistas”, said Maduro.
The wave of arrests has been directed at allies of Rafael Ramírez, Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations and former president of PDVSA during Hugo Chávez’s term. His cousin, Diego Salazar Carreño, was arrested last Friday for allegedly being involved in the corruption scheme at the banking system in Andorra.
Maduro has also announced that works of art, valued at more than 800,000 euros (€), and other millionaire properties were found in Salazar’s residence in Caracas. “I have told (Vice President Tareck) El Aissami to proceed with the repossession of these resources. Some of these works will go to galleries for the (Venezuelan) people to have them; others will be sold in order to recover the money… That money is the people’s money. Thieves, thieves! You have to be stripped of all of the goods you have stolen, absolutely all of them”, he added.
The Venezuelan government has announced the re-evaluation of the contracts signed by the former executive of the oil company with some 272 companies. This decision will imply radical changes in the way new contracts are going to be signed from now
As a consequence of the aforementioned situation, Quevedo, who is a major general of the National Guard, and other senior officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) have become the new czars of Venezuelan crude. “There are not going to be more contracts endorsed by the board of directors to continue looting, as they have done in some instances, the Petroleum industry that belongs to the people”, warned the current Petroleum Minister and president of PDVSA.