U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R.-Fl) and Robert Menendez (D.-NJ) have denounced Venezuela’s planned cryptocurrency in a new letter.
In an open letter addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Rubio and Menendez asked how the Treasury Department was monitoring Venezuela’s plan to create its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, which the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, has said will help the country avoid global financial sanctions.
The two senators want to know how the department will move to prevent the country from using the “petro” to bypass American sanctions. The letter noted that Venezuela has spent several years in an economic crisis, resulting in a lack of access to basic resources for most citizens.
Rubio and Menendez wrote:
“We have serious doubts about whether Venezuela has the capacity to launch a cryptocurrency, but regardless, it is imperative that the U.S. Treasury Department is equipped with tools and enforcement mechanisms to combat the use of cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions in general, and in this case in particular.”
The project has sparked its share of controversy even within its home country, with the nation’s Congress denouncing it as illegal and saying the legislature needs to vote on the token’s creation.
Earlier this month, an alleged white paper for the coin was shared on social media, but the central government labeled it as false, saying that Maduro would announce the token’s white paper at a later date.