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Venezuela Must Free Itself from 'Dollar Blackmail' - Maduro

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MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuela needs to free itself from blackmail by the US dollar, as it has enough resources in other currencies and the petro cryptocurrency, President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday.

"Fortunately, Venezuela has resources in euros, yuan, petro… We have to completely free ourselves from the blackmail of the dollar", Maduro said speaking at a meeting with governors, mayors and the youth of cities dedicated to the Beautiful Venezuela programme.

His speech was broadcast on his Twitter blog.

Oil pumps are seen in Lake Maracaibo, in Lagunillas, Ciudad Ojeda, in the state of Zulia, Venezuela, March 20, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Earlier this week, Venezuela launched an alternative market-based currency exchange system that reduced the cost of the national currency, the bolivar, by 35 percent on the first day of trading.

Last year, Maduro announced that his country had launched a national blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the petro. The measure enabled any Venezuelan to register in the blockchain and acquire petro for convertible currency.

The cryptocurrency was officially launched in February 2018. Its value was pegged to the price of a barrel of Venezuelan oil, which Maduro estimated in early January 2019 at 36,000 new sovereign bolivars, four times more than last year.

READ MORE: US Gives Venezuela's Opposition Leader Juan Guaido Control Over Some Assets

Since August, Venezuela has had two currencies — the petro and the sovereign bolivar, which was introduced to replace the bolivar due to its hyperinflation caused by falling oil prices and the broader economic crisis in the country. The bolivar, however, also remains in use for the duration of the transition period.

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