US President Donald Trump has banned Petro, a cryptocurrency backed by the Venezuelan government. The President outlawed the company through executive order March 19. This ban is seen when the US government campaign to put more pressure on the Venezuelan government led by President, Nicolas Maduro. The executive order made it illegal for citizens of the United States to engage in any transactions or businesses using the oil-indexed digital currency.
The ban is expected to frustrate and put more pressure on the government of Maduro. It is expected to negatively affect the Venezuelan government’s plans to boost its reserves of foreign currency. Petro, a token offering company only accepted transactions in euros and US dollars. This meant that citizens of Venezuela could not legally participate. This is because the government of Venezuela has banned buying of currencies from other countries.
In the executive order, the President also authorized Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary to come up with policies and regulations, which will help in enforcing and implementing the executive order. Earlier this year, the U.S Treasury revealed that it had imposed sanctions on four Venezuelan government officials. These officials were sanctioned in what the Treasury termed as engagement in oppression and corruption. The four officials are:-
- Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres, who is the Aragua State Governor and an External Director on the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) Board of Directors.
- Francisco Jose Rangel Gomez who is an ex-Bolivar State Governor and a former Division General in the National Army.
- Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabon, a Bolivarian National Guard Division General.
- Gerardo Jose Izquierdo Torres who is the State Minister for the New Border of Peace and the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Border Commission and a Major General of the Army.
The U.S government has accused President Maduro of decimating the country’s economy and causing a humanitarian crisis. The U.S government added that instead of the Maduro regime remedying the situation, it is trying to circumvent sanctions by using the Petro digital currency.
In an earlier announcement, the Treasury Department had warned U.S investors from dealing with Petro and termed any such investments or transactions as an attempt to strengthen the Maduro regime while at the same time looting the country’s resources.