Trump blocks use of Venezuelan Petro cryptocoins in the US

Glen Norman
March 20, 2018

Critics say that Petro is used by the Venezuelan government to circumvent global sanctions, which is a serious-enough concern for the USA government that President Trump made a decision to ban the use of Petro in the country.

Maduro had announced late past year that he was creating the digital currency to outmanoeuvre US sanctions preventing Venezuela from issuing new debt.

Venezuela announced its own cryptocurrency, the Petro, in February as part of an effort to get around worldwide sanctions and kick-start its economy.

The US Treasury has previously warned potential investors that buying the petro could violate sanctions that prohibit the purchase of Venezuelan debt.

The United States has been increasing the pressure on the Maduro regime, including imposing sanctions against more than 20 current and former Venezuelan government officials in recent months. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM. The new sanctions are part of a larger package of measures that also include four individual sanctions against Venezuelan financial officials. The Venezuelan government often blames the sanctions for the country's economic crisis. Inflation of the bolívar fuerte, Venezuela's official currency, is set to hit 13,000 percent later this year.

President Maduro has said each token will be backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude.

It was hoped that in skirting sanctions, Petro would help revive the South American country's weakening economy and avert a humanitarian crisis. The ban on the Petro in the United States makes it more hard for Maduro to raise funds, and the USA has been considering issuing sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector, the last industry propping up the economy.

Rubio and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) raised concerns in January that the Maduro regime's use of the Petro would be watched by other USA adversaries, such as Russian Federation and North Korea.

"I commend the president and his administration for continuing to take action against efforts by the illegitimate Maduro regime to exploit illicit financial lifelines, and encourage additional sanctions in the weeks to come", he said in a statement.

The Trump Administration still has not decided on further sanctions against the Maduro regime, which it says it will impose to protest Venezuelan elections next month that it deems to have unfairly excluded opposition candidates.

Venezuela and its citizens within the cryptocurrency space remain strongly divided on the subject.

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