The Venezuelan government is waging war against bitcoin and bakers as the socialist paradise is clamping down on both.
In the last few years, the Venezuelan economy has collapsed, even though it has one of the largest oil reserves in the world today. The Venezuelan bolivar’s value has been eradicated and inflation has skyrocketed into triple digits. The people can’t buy anything and are resorting to eating dogs and cats, pigeons and donkeys.
As a way to combat this trend, many people are turning to the peer-to-peer decentralized digital currency bitcoin. From to 2014 to 2016, the number of Venezuelan bitcoin users has surged from 450 to 85,000, and the population is gradually rebelling against the failed socialist system. Venezuelans realize that the virtual currency is volatile, but they also realize that it is far more stable than the bolivar.
Of course, the socialist government can’t have prosperous citizens so they are beginning to crack down on bitcoin users and miners. According to the Washington Post, the Nicolas Maduro-led government has started to jail miners by accusing them of terrorism, money laundering and digital crimes.
The government doesn’t have any laws against bitcoin, but sources told the newspaper that police raided homes late last year, requesting $1,000 bribes for every single one of their bitcoin mining terminals.
Another excuse the government is using is the heavy usage of power. Since electricity is scarce in Venezuela, the government is actually charging bitcoin users and producers of electricity theft. It is true that mining for bitcoin requires a lot of energy, but if your country is suffering from such an event then you know you’re doing something wrong.
At the time of this writing, the price of one bitcoin is $1,153.
No power, no money and no food.
Speaking of food…
Venezuelan authorities implemented new authoritarian measures on bakeries as the government attempts to find a new scapegoat. Maduro has gone as far as accusing bakers of launching a bread war.
“They will pay, I swear. Those responsible for the bread war will pay and, later, don’t go and say that it is political persecution,” Maduro told a crowd last week. “Even our lord Jesus Christ put bread into the Our Father.”
Reportedly, bakeries are mandated to sell bread at 6 a.m., and if they sell it later than 7 a.m. they will be sanctioned. Moreover, they must use 90 percent of their wheat content to produce bread and will be prohibited from possessing more than 300 sacks of wheat per month (unfortunately, 80 percent of the nation’s bakeries don’t even have enough ingredients to make bread).
Failure to abide by these orders will result in having their bakeries expropriated and handed to the Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP).
“We have identified part of the conspiracies and deeds that have generated sabotage in order to bring bread to the people,” Vice President Tareck El Aissami said earlier this week. “Bakeries which do not follow [the rules] will be occupied by the government.”
Last year, the government banned long lines outside of bakeries.
This is what socialism breeds: price controls, draconian laws and paranoia. If you want to compare anyone to the Nazis then you should point the finger at the Venezuelan government.