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The US has been pushing hard for an end of Nicolas Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela. Sanctions has been put in place by the US against the state’s company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), which caused a lot of damage to the country’s economy.
Because of the nation’s reliance on the revenue generated through PDVSA, Maduro has tried to find his way around the sanctions by using the Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro. The US is aware of Maduro’s efforts; however, they have not been able to counter these efforts with immediate effect.
Now Maduro is trying to use Bitcoin(BTC)trade to circumvent US sanctions at airports as well as reported by Spanish news outlet ABC. Maiquetía International Airport (IAIM) is the first subject of Maduro’s plan to obtain foreign exchange and to circumvent the US sanctions by using Bitcoin.
In February 2018, President Maduro implemented an automated system for the collection of aviation taxes through the ‘Jet Man Pay’ application. Developed by Barracuda Solutions, this app converts the payment into Bitcoin and then transfer it to international exchanges located in Hong Kong, Russia, China and Hungary. In the next step of the process, dollars for Bitcoin are transferred to Venezuelan government accounts in those countries.
Bitcoin as Means to Collect Taxes
Ángel Lovera, a commercial and private pilot graduated from Venezuela is the director of Barracuda Solutions and also the founder of the Jetman App. He has said that the application was designed to receive the aeronautical and tourist tax payments from the Maiquetía airport via Bitcoin. An official press release says that this system “will allow the IAIM to instantly invoice the operational rights for airport services generated by national and international aircraft and turn the payment into bolivars and foreign currency.”
An addendum (a modified certificate of registration), signed by the director general of the IAIM and Ángel Lovera, states that Maiquetía Airport keeps 2% of the amount collected, as well as the intermediary company.
This year, the Venezuelan government does not even have dollars to refill the gas tanks, as the airlines cannot pay due to blocked PDVSA accounts. Maduro is now negotiating to transfer the same Jetman Pay system to refueling with Bitcoin. According to reports, Barracuda Soluciones Aeronauticas CA and Petroleos de Venezuela will sign the contract despite the Trump administration’s strict ban on doing business with Venezuelan companies.