While Venezuelans have struggled to survive the pandemic during times of dictatorship, crypto firm Circle last year collaborated with opposition from countries to financially aid healthcare workers who were left to a ruined system without almost no adequate medical equipment and a daunting investment of $ 15 per year. monthly salary.
Today 1 dollar is equivalent to 45,000,000,000,000,000 bolivars – although it has been devalued to make it look like 4.5 VES -, a figure too large to understand, very similar to the general picture. The basic food basket is estimated at more than $ 300 a month, but the minimum wage is about $ 7, and last year many doctors were making as much as $ 15 a month.
The Financial Times published a report describing the methods used by the interim president to circumvent the tight control of the Maduro regime that would not allow citizens to receive any type of foreign aid.
As Gideon Long’s report recalls, the US sanctions on Venezuela had worsened the situation for its citizens with state funds frozen in US bank accounts, but politicians who oppose the government – with Guaidó recognized by Washington as the legitimate president of Venezuela- found influence in that by managing to access the accounts after convincing the United States Treasury to do so.
But how were they going to get the money into the hands of healthcare workers if the government was extremely against it? Legitimated or not, Venezuela is still under Maduro’s control, so banks weren’t a possibility, but stablecoins were. During the bumpy road, the era of crypto blazed a trail that wouldn’t have been there a decade ago.
Circle, US-based fintech innovator Airtm, and Juan Guaido’s team collaborated on what they claim to be the first “use of stablecoins for foreign aid.“, the “only viable option available.”
Circle says on its website: “We were able to implement an aid disbursement channel that harnessed the power of USDC (Internet-based, dollar-backed, open digital currency payments) to circumvent Maduro’s imposed controls on the financial system. national. and put millions of dollars in funds in the hands of people who fight for the health and safety of the people of Venezuela ”.
The Maduro regime did everything possible to block the Airtm platform, where health workers would receive aid, but Guaidó’s team published a guide on how to use the VPN from Canadian company TunnelBear, which provided free services for a time.
Many compatriots have said that not much has changed for Venezuelans in any way but at the same time, the milestone that collaborations like this create shows the possibilities that the era of crypto that we are entering can offer in desperate situations. It’s not just about the market, it’s also about freedom.
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As the compatriots were already in a heartbreaking situation, the times of Covid arrived and Venezuela entered a deeper despair. The death figures cannot be officially tracked because the regime covers them to look better, and all we are left with are the abandoned voices of its victims.
Guillermo Herrera Gallo, a Venezuelan doctor who currently works for the Red Cross in the country, was one of the health workers to receive the bonus. He commented to newsBTC about his personal experience regarding financial aid through the deterioration of Venezuela’s healthcare system.
Herrera said the aid didn’t make much of a difference in the lives of the doctors, but she did see relief in the eyes of the nurses who were finally able to afford better food and supplies for their children. He thinks that the method and platform used were very beneficial when facing a devaluation of the national currency that has become useless and he was satisfied with how safe it feels to use AirTM.
Circle adds that this event highlights “the freedom of people to transact, even in the face of brutal dictatorships. It also marks a historic moment when economic and political leaders have turned to stablecoins to implement foreign aid goals. “
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