The ongoing controversy surrounding the petro, Venezuela’s state-owned cryptocurrency, continues to dominate the landscape of the South American nation. In a continuation of the saga, the Asamblea Nacional, a faction of the divided Venezuelan Legislature, released a statement on March 6, 2018, calling the petro illegal and unconstitutional.
Another Avenue for Corruption
The content of the statement put forth by the lawmakers contained rhetoric that cast aspersions of the fidelity of the project, calling it a fraudulent move and a significant threat to people who invest in the cryptocurrency. The members of the Asamblea Nacional are known to be active opponents of President Maduro and his policies.
More importantly, the members of the assembly declared the national cryptocurrency as illegal under the laws of the country.
They believe that the move by the President and his cabinet to issue a state-owned cryptocurrency is further proof of the administration’s ineptitude and a glaring reminder of the sorry state of affairs within the country.
The group also faulted plans by the government to make businesses and retirement accounts to accept the petro.
The Asamblea Nacional is adamant that the move is merely another vehicle for state-sponsored corruption orchestrated by the Maduro administration. This reaction isn’t the first condemnation issued by the opposition legislative body regarding the petro.
When the President first announced the plan in December 2017, the lawmakers responded by calling it illegal and unconstitutional. They slammed the move as an effort to mortgage the country’s oil deposits illegally.
According to Jorge Millan, one of the members of the Asamblea Nacional, the petro isn’t a cryptocurrency, it is instead, a “forward sale of Venezuelan oil.” He further went on to declare that the petro was “tailor-made” by the Maduro administration for corruption.
A Nation in Crisis
The controversy surrounding the petro only goes to deepen the split in what is already a profoundly fractured political landscape in Venezuela.
The country is currently in the midst of a crippling economic crisis resulting in hyperinflation and mounting unemployment rates. The Bolivar, the national currency of Venezuela, has also been significantly devalued with many citizens facing starvation and lack of access to essential amenities.
The petro is a government push to hopefully restore the wealth and prosperity of the nation by being able to circumvent US-led sanctions against the country.
While the Asamblea Nacional is against the plan, the other faction of the Venezuelan legislature which is made of pro-government lawmakers have backed it.
The National Constituent Assembly, which was created by President Maduro as a counter for the Asamblea Nacional, has thrown their full weight behind the move.
The government body issued a statement repeating much of the rhetoric already expounded by President Maduro with the petro being hailed as an act of defiance against harmful western policies and sanctions.
In February, BTCManager reported that the petro had reportedly raised $735 million during its first day of the presale.