Venezuela's Opposition-controlled National Assembly Declares Petro Illegal

Venezuela AsambleaNacional Petro Illegal 030718

The Opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly has declared its national cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR), as illegitimate.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the President of the Commission of Finance and Economic Development of the National Assembly said the House believes the Petro is unconstitutional, and denounced the project as fraud, and a threat to potential investors.

Rafael Guzman rejected the government's offer to civil servants to acquire Petro through savings banks as "forced demand of the PTR that the Executive intends to implement on Venezuelans."

He accused the Maduro administration of continuing to embezzle the national Treasury, and damaging the National Integrated Customs and Tax Administration Service (Seniat).

The legislature's disapproval of Petro comes at a time President Nicolas Maduro claims it will influence the future of the Venezuelan economy, production, and commerce.

He made an appeal not to doubt the Petro, while Cryptocurrency experts are skeptic about its success.

Venezuela is the first country to create a state-backed cryptocurrency.

Maduro launched the pre-sale of Petro on February 20 to ease the country's economic crisis, and circumvent U.S.-led sanctions.

The Venezuelan Government claimed its oil-backed cryptocurrency raised $30 billion in the first week of its pre-sale, and that it evoked overwhelming response from as many as 127 countries.

The lawmakers lashed out against the sale, which, according to them, is simply a symptom of the country's ongoing political crisis.

"This deepens the crisis that we are living in. The PTR is another example of corruption, and we will come out of this crisis with measures that we have announced from this Parliament," Guzman said in the statement.

But the National Assembly's stand is not expected to have any influence on the government, as the Constitutional Assembly, which is loyal to Maduro, had stripped the former of its legislative powers.

Major Opposition parties have called to boycott the presidential election in May, saying the electoral system was rigged in favor of the President.

The decision paves the path for Maduro's easy re-election, and consolidation of power, political analysts say.

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