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Venezuelans Get Christmas Bonus in Crypto

25 Nov 2019

The notorious Venezuelan dictator and the undisputed leader of the United Socialistic Party Nicolas Maduro came up with yet another “brilliant” initiative that is intended to improve popularity among the senior population. In a burst of unprecedented generosity, the 46th president of Venezuela announced that all pensioners and retired servicemen are entitled to a $30 Christmas bonus that will be paid in the controversial state-backed cryptocurrency named Petro (PTR).

$30 to console the poor

The news about the decision to sweeten up the dire financial situation, in which the entire Venezuelan population has been put in despite the fact that the country has probably the largest oil reserves in the world, had been made known through the Twitter post, published by the local outlet Venepress. It was released with a hashtag ElDesarollo, translated as “development, improvement,” which is apparently some kind of a government initiative for the betterment of life of the impoverished Venezuelan population.

In this tweet, the news agency informed the public that Maduro issued an ordinance that stipulates for the provision of a Christmas bonus in the amount of 897,317,27 Venezuelan bolivars, which has been recently rebranded to Bolivar Soberano, to all pensioners and retirees. All bonuses will be paid in Petro, a cryptocurrency that had been developed and implemented by the government to circumvent international sanctions, which had been imposed on Venezuela, and Maduro’s regime in particular, for brutally rigging the presidential elections of 2018 and committing multiple crimes against humanity. The effect from such sanctions was so devastating to the economy that this seemingly big Christmas bonus amounts to no more than $30.

This initiative stems from the law adopted in February of last year, according to which, all bonuses paid to the pensioners are to be automatically converted to Petro and credited to the so-called “Motherland” physical card that is being linked directly to the corresponding digital wallet called Billetera Movil. The bonuses are being presumably credited on a monthly basis, so the upcoming Christmas one should be the extra 13th social payment.

Petro gradually replaces the banks

Interestingly, the Venezuelan government has organized the bonus payments in Petro in a way that actually undermines the national banking system. The recipients of pensions and other types of welfare have the option to get the payments in bolivars without the mandatory conversion to Petro. But in that case, they will have to go through some hurdles to get the money.

After receiving the corresponding notification about the arrival of funds to the personal account, a pensioner would have to send this money to a bank account first, and then go to the local branch and spend the entire day in the queue to receive the allocated money in cash. But if the payment is being requested in PTR, it could be obtained and withdrawn practically without a hitch.

Despite the seeming convenience, many accuse the government of deliberately sabotaging the banking system by forcing the citizens to use the oil-backed cryptocurrency, which has been severely criticized by the Venezuelan and international experts alike.

Regardless of that, even such a tiny payment will come as a consolation to the financially battered seniors, who are forced to find ways to survive amidst the raging economic crisis that propelled last year’s inflation to the mind-blowing 130,060,2%.

Author: Alex Paulson for

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