Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his weekly radio and TV broadcast on December 3, 2017.
Maduro announced in a televised address the currency will be backed by oil, gas and diamond reserves, declaring to cheers "the 21st century has arrived!" in the struggling socialist state, Reuters reported. It is an attempt to cope with a failing national economy and circumvent USA sanctions. However, opposition leaders in Venezuela aren't convinced it'll solve the country's problems, as they say the petro needs congressional approval, and some have cast doubt on whether it will ever see the light of day, taking into account the country's situation.
Under the sanctions Washington imposed a ban on purchase of new Venezuelan debt securities by any person in the U.S. that prevents the restructuring of external debt of Caracas.
Maduro announced the new cryptocurrency known as "petro" on his weekly national TV program Sundays with Maduro.
The announcement bewildered some followers of cryptocurrencies, which typically are not backed by any government or central banks.
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Hyperinflation has eroded the Venezuelan bolivia's value by 97% this year, making imports incredibly expensive and causing many to abandon trust in the currency.
Maduro's government has a poor track record in monetary policy. As a result, the minimum wage per month has dropped to a meager $4.30.
"It's Maduro being a clown".
"The Maduro dictatorship continues to deprive the Venezuelan people of food and medicine, imprison the democratically-elected opposition, and violently suppress freedom of speech", Trump said in a statement.
Maduro views it as a fight against a Washington-backed conspiracy to sabotage his government and put an end to socialism in Latin America, and went as far as declaring a financial "world war".