U.S Bans #Venezuela's Digital Currency Transactions

Venezuela's petro cryptocurrency
Petro: Venezuela's cryptocurrency

U.S President, Donald Trump signed an order barring any U.S. based financial transactions involving Venezuela's new petro cryptocurrency, announced by Trump administration on Monday.

U.S. Officials claim that it was a "scam" by President Nicolas Maduro's government to further undermine democracy in the OPEC country.

"The petro is a desperate effort by a corrupt regime to defraud international investors," a senior U.S. administration official told reporters, strongly warning that any transactions in the petro digital currency would violate U.S. sanctions.
Investing in the 'petro' should be viewed as directly supporting this dictatorship and its attempts to undermine the democratic order in Venezuela," the official added.

The White House said the new measures were intended to send a message to Mr. Maduro's government, which it has accused of corruption and repression, that the United States remains focused on the economic devastation in Venezuela, and holds the president and his associates directly responsible for creating the conditions there. The nation is in the throes of food and medicine shortages and a collapse of the health system as well as other government services, circumstances that have prompted hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to flee.

The sanctions also come just two months before Mr. Maduro is to stand for re-election in a race he is expected to win given his control of Venezuela's political and judicial machinery. The United States is among the countries that have declared they will not recognize the results.

"President Maduro decimated the Venezuelan economy and spurred a humanitarian crisis," Steven Munchin, the Treasury secretary, said in a statement announcing the newly blacklisted individuals. Mr. Munchin cited the individuals for "economic mismanagement and corruption" and blasted an attempt by the Maduro government to evade sanctions through the creation of a new digital currency known as Petro.

Maduro is hoping crypto-currencies will help Venezuela skirt U.S, financial sanctions as it struggles under hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.

Venezuela rejected the sanctions, which it says are illegal under international law.

These unilateral sanctions... constitute a new imperial aggression aimed at intensifying the attack on our people, the government said in a statement.

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