Venezuela: Maduro Proposes Paying Citizens in Gold Bars

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) gestures between his wife Cilia Flores (L) and Defence Minister General Vladimir Padrino during a ceremony to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the National Guard in Caracas on August 4, 2018 day in which Venezuela's controversial Constituent Assembly marks its first anniversary. - The Constituent …

Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro proposed providing people with gold bars as an alternative to traditional currency, local media reported this week, after his debut of the “sovereign bolívar” triggered mass confusion nationwide.

“The gold certificate will serve as a solid base for the credit system, so that Venezuelans can obtain loans to buy cars, homes and recover the capacity of our financial system,” Maduro said in a speech on Monday, accompanied by his Vice President of Economy Tareck El Aissami and the president of the Central Bank of Venezuela, Calixto Ortega Sánchez.

Maduro proceeded to present two types of gold bars, weighing 1.5 and 2.5-grams respectively, that he says will be sold to the population for 3,700 and 6,300 bolivares ($43 and $73) respectively. The gold was reportedly sourced from Guyana, where the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) has been buying it from local miners.

“We already have thousands of gold bars, there will be millions of them, thus, it will enable the Venezuelan people to make savings,” he continued. “I’m presenting two types of gold bars as part of the plan, aimed at the establishment of national savings: gold bars weighing 1.5 and 2.5 grams.”

Such an initiative is another desperate attempt on behalf of the Maduro regime to stabilize the country’s economy and reduce the devastating impact of hyperinflation on people’s savings.

Last week, the government also introduced a parallel currency, known as the “sovereign bolívar,” while also increasing the country’s minimum wage by 3,500 percent. Yet such measures are only expected to push inflation further out of control and make it harder for private businesses to hire employees.

It is not the first time that Maduro has attempted to draw on his country’s extensive natural resources to protect the Venezuelan economy.

In February, the government created a national cryptocurrency known as the “petro” that is pegged to the country’s oil reserves. However, many analysts have denounced the currency as a scam, warning that its real value may be zero.

Despite having the world’s largest reserves of crude oil, Venezuela’s oil revenues continue to fall dramatically because of a chronic lack of production. This is mainly a result of mismanagement at the state-run oil company PDSVA, where employees are quitting en masse due to low wages and a general lack of morale.

Many workers have also become alienated over Maduro’s installation of former military general Manuel Quevedo as head of the company, who pledged to “consolidate the deepening of socialism” within the company.

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