U.S. government bans Venuzuela Petro transactions

Mauricio Cardenas

The United States will provide $2.5 million in food and medical aid to Venezuelans fleeing their economically-crippled country to neighboring Colombia and is poised to help other countries if the situation worsens, USA officials said on Tuesday.

The government of Venezuela got help from the Russian government officials and businessmen in launching the petro token, Time reported on Tuesday.

The move signals Washington is seeking to boost its involvement in the fallout from Venezuela's crisis following several rounds of financial sanctions that have effectively blocked President Nicolas Maduro's ability to borrow money overseas.

As reported previously, Venezuelan president first announced the 'Petro', a digital currency backed by Venezuela's massive oil reserves as a means to combat United States sanctions and the financial blockade, earlier in December.

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The two, however, were not the top Russian authority to back Maduro. This, Russian officials believe, gives excessive influence around the globe. The Venezuelan government announced earlier this year saying that Poland was interested in trading medicines and food for the petro, a claim that was denied shortly after by the Polish government's Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The extra money, provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development, will provide emergency food and health assistance as the Colombian government struggles to provide necessary medical and social services, said Mark Green, USAID administrator. "People close to Putin, they told him this is how to avoid the sanctions", the executive told Time. This action barred all Americans residents from buying the petro. Maduro says that these sanctions violate the United Nations charter agreement and violate Venezuela's sovereignty.

USA calls the digital currency an attempt by the Venezuelan government to "circumvent United States sanctions".

Despite the sanction, the sale of the initial coin offering is still in progress with Maduro expecting the crowdsale to net $6 million.

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