Venezuela Citizens Forced to Buy Passports With State-Backed Cryptocurrency
Starting on November 1, Venezuela will require citizens to pay for passport fees using the government’s petro cryptocurrency.
Thousands of Venezuelans seeking to escape their country’s hardships amid food, power and medicine shortages. President Nicolas Maduro’s government now wants to strengthen border controls and has raised the price for passports.
As of next month citizens of Venezuela are compelled to purchase or renew their passports using the newly minted, Petro.
Venezuelans already spend days in queues hoping to apply and secure passports since lack of materials and rampant corruption have made official documents scarce.
According to the United Nation’s latest data, an estimate of 5,000 people leaves Venezuela daily.
¡Bienvenido El Petro! Llegó para fortalecer el Programa de Recuperación Económica y a revolucionar la criptoeconomía mundial como nueva forma de intercambio comercial, financiero y monetario. pic.twitter.com/2uERu523Ku
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 2 October 2018
Maduro says that the figures of people leaving Venezuela are exaggerated in order to make him look bad. He claims that 600,000 Venezuelans have left the country in the past two years and that 90 percent of those who leave regret doing so.
Many leave via illegal border crossings along the chaotic, porous 2,200-kilometer (1,400-mile) border with neighboring Colombia, where almost one million Venezuelan immigrants live.
The new amount for a passport is around four times the amount of the monthly minimum wage in Venezuela.
Meanwhile, many Venezuelans continue to use Bitcoin as a safe haven in order to protect their money from further depreciation.
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