CARACAS – May 9, 2019 – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his country was getting rid of the dollar despite the country’s authorities having recently liberalized the foreign exchange market.
On Tuesday, a document released by the Central Bank of Venezuela revealed that Caracas maintained its policy of liberalizing its foreign exchange market since it introduced absolutely free sale and purchase of foreign currencies, including the dollar, in commercial banks.
“We are getting rid of the ropes, the blackmail and the dollar as a financial mechanism. A great historical process is under way with people telling the world – yes, we are able to produce, live and function without the dollar and without the financial system of the gringo (North American – ed),” Maduro said on a state TV channel on Wednesday.
The president called the ongoing changes in a process of liberation from the US blockade, a blockade which he infers has led in fact to the acceleration of this process.
The Venezuelan government has established control over all foreign currency operations in the country since 2003. As a result, an illegal foreign exchange market has taken shape in the country, with its exchange rate exceeding the official exchange rate in dozens of times.
Venezuela liberalized dollar operations in August 2018. However, the official exchange system, the DICOM, remained in force. Its rate has only recently become equal to the so-called black market rate and even surpassed it.
The new regulations give commercial banks the right to sell and buy foreign currencies at their own rates. The document, released by the Central Bank, however, does not mention the DICOM system.
Meanwhile, during the meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on recent attempts to overthrow Maduro, by the opposition.
Sergei Lavrov appealed to the United States to abandon its provocative actions against Venezuela and to act under international law.
“We appeal to the Americans and all those who support them to abandon their irresponsible plans and to act exclusively within the framework of international law,” he said.
In addition, the Russian chancellor affirmed that the attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian government by force make difficult the resolution of the crisis in the Latin American country and can even cause a catastrophe.